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Even before Facebook started rolling out its smart search engine earlier this year, it may have been taking away some searches from Google.
The number of searches done on search engines in the U.S. dropped by 3% in 2012, according to a new report from comScore, even though the number of people searching increased by 4%. Google, in particular, saw the number of searches decline by 2% last year.
This decline comes even though Google and search engines overall experienced an increase in the total number of U.S. users performing searches. In other words, more people are searching, but the average user is performing fewer searches. One of the reasons for this, according to comScore, may be that users are turning to so-called "vertical" search tools like Facebook and Amazon in lieu of always relying on the "core" search engines like Google and Yahoo.
"Consumers are increasingly likely to search for a product on Amazon or eBay, and search for people on Facebook or Whitepages.com," comScore notes in the report. "While core searches are softening, vertical searches are up 8 percent year-over-year."