Google widens lead in U.S. searches: comScore

People ride their bikes past Google Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, California, May 8, 2008. REUTERS/Kimberly White

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Internet search firm Google Inc took its widest-ever lead in the U.S. search market in March, according to new figures released on Wednesday by comScore.

Google had a 63.7 percent share of the 14.3 billion U.S. searches in March, up 0.4 percentage points from February, and above the 63.5 percent level that was its previous high.

Yahoo Inc saw its U.S. search share inch downwards in March to 20.5 percent, from 20.6 percent in February.

The new data comes as Internet firms are due to report first-quarter earnings, with Google’s slated for Thursday.

Overall U.S. search queries in March increased 9 percent from February, according to comScore. But February was three days shorter than March.

The number of search queries per day in March equates to 462.3 million versus 468 million searches per day in February, according to Reuters calculation.

Microsoft Corp’s share of the U.S. search market increased by 0.1 percentage points to 8.3 percent in March.

IAC/InterActiveCorp’s Ask Networks and Time Warner Inc’s AOL each saw slight monthly declines in searches in March, with 3.8 percent and 3.7 percent shares respectively.

Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Richard Chang