Google's Mysterious December Drop Solved? (GOOG)

We’re still curious about two reports we’ve seen in the last week — one from Nielsen, the other from comScore — that show Google losing a tiny piece of the U.S. search market in December.

They are small drops — Nielsen shows a 1.4% decline, comScore shows a 0.2% loss — and we don’t want to overplay them. But shouldn’t they mean something? Doesn’t Google’s market share always get bigger?

Not necessarily. A person who follows search stats more closely than we do argues that Google’s December drop is probably easy to explain: Students spend less time on their computers in December because of the holidays.

Hmmm. Shouldn’t that phenomenon affect all the engines equally? No, says our search guru — Google’s share of students is much higher than its older rivals, so it gets hurt a bit more. And the same thing happens every spring, when school lets out for the summer: Last year comScore showed Google losing 1.6% from May to June. Then its share began climbing once again. So: Do you find this convincing? Or do you think something else is at work here? Let us know in comments.

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