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Yahoo blames Google Instant for search woes, AOL mulls takeover


No innovation comes without its problems, and Google Instant, only about a month old, is already causing an uproar by Yahoo. According to comScore’s first report since Instant launched Sept. 8, Yahoo’s search percentage fell 0.7 percent in September while Google’s share rose 0.7 percent and Microsoft’s Bing climbed 0.1 percent. In an impassioned blog post, Shashi Seth, Sr. VP  of Yahoo Search & Marketplaces, argued that comScore isn’t reporting searches correctly due to Google Instant, which performs an instant search on whatever characters have been entered if a user pauses for three seconds on the Google.com site.

“Looking at comScore’s report,” said Seth, “it appears to me that a majority of Google’s query growth in September (a month in which Google Instant was live for 20 days) came from precisely these kinds of interactions. I bet even the folks at Google are mystified by this kind of accounting.”

ComScore, for its part, already addressed the changed statistics in a blog post of its own, highlighting its upgraded metrics for handling Instant searches. The company also noted that September should be regarded as a transitional month due to Instant launching mid-way through the month, Yahoo’s announced partnership with Bing, and Facebook’s new partnership with Bing, unveiled yesterday. October and November’s numbers may be more telling, but with 66.1 percent of the market, there’s no arguing who is on top.

AOL buyout?

In other Yahoo news, the company’s stock rose 6 percent on a WSJ report that AOL may try to takeover the company. Investors seem to think it might be a good move for the troubled company, CNN Money. A merger would change the search game yet again, making AOL, which holds 2.3 percent of the search market, a much larger player.

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