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Indians favor Google, Yahoo

Internet users in India prefer Yahoo for instant messaging and e-mail access, and rely on Google's search engine to locate information, according to a new survey.

A study of over 30,000 Internet users in India has found that Google and Yahoo are among the most popular Web sites in the country.

Conducted in April 2005 by JuxtConsult, the study determined that Google was the preferred search engine among Indians, while Yahoo dominated the use of e-mail communication and instant messaging (IM).

According to the New Delhi-based research firm, Google commanded India's Internet search market with 75 percent user share, far surpassing the 6 percent share held by second-placed Yahoo.

But Yahoo reversed the tables on Google in e-mail use, garnering 38 percent in user share. The leading company was followed by Rediff and Hotmail, which had user shares of 21 percent and 18 percent, respectively. Google's Gmail e-mail service was estimated to have a user share of 5 percent, though the report indicated that Gmail was considered a relatively new player and is likely to gain a bigger market share in future.

Yahoo also led the instant messaging market, capturing 74 percent of total IM users. Microsoft's MSN messenger came in at distant second at 15 percent.

Nearly half (44 percent) of users indicated their preference for online shopping at auction site eBay. Twenty-two percent picked Rediff, while 17 percent opted for IndiaTimes, which is associated with the Times of India, one of the country's largest news dailies.

In addition, India users preferred local portals to satisfy their appetites for news updates. The top three news sources were IndiaTimes, the Web edition of the country's second-largest news source NDTV, and Rediff, in that order. The three Web sites together commanded over 50 percent the total user share.

The JuxtConsult study is one of five reports the research firm conducts which measures the impact of the Internet on India's consumer trends and demands.