Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) maintained its search dominance for the month of January, however its share growth appears to be slowing, according to Wall Street analysts.
US Internet searches grew 1.6 percent in January over the previous month, with Google increasing its market share for the sixth consecutive month, garnering 47.5 percent of all search queries, according to comScore Networks data. The results are up from 47.3 percent acquired in December and 41.4 percent one year ago, as the firm extends its lead.
Google grew search queries by 44 percent year over year in January 07, significantly ahead of the industry growth at 26 percent, but marking a significant deceleration from 50 percent in December 06, Bear Stearns analyst Robert Peck noted. We note that this is the first time that Google's year over year search growth rate dropped below 50 percent since April 06.
The slow down may be attributed to a deceleration across the industry as a whole, however. Total US internet search decelerated to 25.6 percent from 29.7 percent, comScore said.
We expect continued share gains for Google in the near term, analyst Justin Post of Merrill Lynch told clients in a note Wednesday morning.
The analyst gave Google a price target of $560, however cautioned pressure from competitive initiatives at Yahoo! and Microsoft, and margin pressure from increased investment spending may risk.
Market share increased for MSN, and Time Warner networks as well, while share decreased for Yahoo! and The Ask Network.
Shares of Google rose 0.80 percent, or $3.76, to $475.86 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.