Rich search engines got richer in January in the monthly search engine rankings. Among the Top 50 properties worldwide some surprises surfaced this month as comScore reported total searches grew at a 7.9 percent clip.
Sites owned and operated by Google enjoyed 7.7 billion searches. No shock, maybe awe.
Yahoo sites again came in a distant second (2.5 billion searches) -- again growing at less than half Google's overall 8 percent rate.
Google.com grew even faster - 9.4 percent. YouTube's modest 2.6 percent growth rate slowed the core search engine down.
Microsoft sites at 1.1 billion searches means a combined Microsoft-Yahoo would only total 3.6 billion searches.
Long discounted as a player, MySpace when combined with other Fox Interactive Media properties outpaced the fast-growing Facebook. Not enough to make Yahoo shareholders lust for a MySpace swap, though.
As social media, Facebook appears invincible.
Yet viewed as a social search engine or people search engine, Facebook looks, well, more human.
AOL, also reportedly in talks with Yahoo, registered less than a billion searches, totaling 903 million for the month. Still not the most attractive dance partner.
Biggest surprise: MSN Live had double digit increases: 10.5 percent on a base close to one billion searches. Anyone who counts out the Redmond giant in search needs to sit up and take notice.
Yahoo and Microsoft stockholders certainly will.