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The business world might still be struggling to shake off the recession but one sector has been enjoying truly extraordinary growth: the search market. What's more, according to digital metrics specialist comScore, one company has dominated this booming marketplace and unsurprisingly it is called Google.

Of the 131 billion searches conducted around the globe during the month of December, an astonishing 87.8 billion of them (or 66.8 percent of the global search market if you prefer) were made using Google. And not all of them were searching for sex or long lost messages.

Google owned sites enjoyed a 58% increase in search query volume over the past year while Yahoo! was up 13% globally and Chinese search engine Baidu made it into third place with a 7% jump. Microsoft, however, had the greatest gains among the top five search properties, jumping some 70% to 4.1 billion searches, mainly thanks to the success of Bing.

The comScore study also revealed that the United States is the biggest search market worldwide with 22.7 billion searches, which equates to around 17% of all global searches. Despite ongoing Google related problems, China is second with 13.3 billion searches, followed by Japan with 9.2 billion and the U.K. with 6.2 billion. Russia, though, made the biggest gains within the top ten markets with 92% growth to 3.3 billion.

Overall, the total worldwide search market saw enjoyed a 46% increase in the past year. Or put another way, more than 4 billion searches per day, 175 million per hour, and 29 million per minute.

"The global search market continues to grow at an extraordinary rate, with both highly developed and emerging markets contributing to the strong growth worldwide" said Jack Flanagan, comScore executive vice president. "Search is clearly becoming a more ubiquitous behaviour among Internet users that drives navigation not only directly from search engines but also within sites and across networks. If you equate the advancement of search with the ability of humans to cultivate information, then the world is rapidly becoming a more knowledgeable ecosystem".

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