NetRatings: Google Most Popular In May, But Trend Is No Real Trends So Far

Concluding what's turned into a series of the latest search popularity ratings today (see also WebSideStory, Hitwise), new stats now posted from Nielsen//NetRatings show that ... wait for it ... Google was the most popular search engine last month, based on the percentages of searches performed there by those within the US.

No surprise. Google was tops last month, and the month before, and the month before. What's more interesting is the chart at the bottom of the NetRatings stats page I've updated. It gives you the trend for Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL since the beginning of the year and underscores why it's a bad idea to get excited over month-to-month changes.

Google's cracked the 48 percent mark! Yes, this month. But it was as low as 46 percent of all searches in February. Overall, it's stayed relatively consistent at the 47 percent range. That's the trend -- relatively consistency.

Yahoo's had little movements, with a downswing in May. Oh no! But it's tiny, and Yahoo's had upswings as well. Overall, Yahoo's "trend" is to be solid around the 21 percent mark.

MSN had all that excitement from some when it showed a boost in February. The ads are working! Microsoft is on the path to victory! Instead, the trend is that MSN has returned to the 12 percent range it had before the campaign. Trend? The temporary boost seems just that, a temporary one so far.

Meanwhile, there's AOL. It just pushed into the 5 percent range. Question is, will the next few months see this as a new level for the service, or will it slip back into 4 percent territory.