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The popularity of two of Google's key Web 2.0-style applications has overtaken those of rival portals in recent weeks, according to the latest data.

Google Calendar last week overtook MSN's competing offering and is due to beat even Yahoo!'s sector-leading calendar in the next couple of months, after the Mountain View outfit's schedule tool surged in popularity, Hitwise statistics show.

The figures come despite Microsoft's application being embedded into Hotmail and despite Yahoo! having first launched its calendar back in 1998. Google Calendar only launched in April 2006.

The popularity seems to be down to the strength of Google's calendar as a standalone application. Whilst MSN and Yahoo! generated 88% and 48% of their respective visits from their integrated email users, only 19% of Google Calendar's user base were Gmail users.

"In the six months from June 2006 to December 2006, the market share of visits to Google Calendar increased by 333%, at the expense of its main competitors," said Hitwise's LeaAnn Prescott. "Its easy-to-use features and sharing capabilities have allowed it to steal share from its competition and, in this case, catch them in less than a year."

Meanwhile, traffic to Google's blog search service overtook even mighty Technorati's offering at the end of December.

The search giant's nascent weblog tracking index had enjoyed modest traffic before a link was added from Google News in October. Prescott said the placement now accounts for 60% of the site's traffic while the addition last week of a dropdown link to Google's front page edged the service beyond Technorati in the popularity stakes.

Technorati claims to index over 60m weblogs and, despite concern over how well it tracks foreign-language sites and how effectively it eliminates spam blogs from its database, was considered more comprehensive than Google.

What's more, Prescott said, only 10% of Technorati's visitors were in the 18-24 age bracket versus 34% for Google's blog search, which could indicate a greater propensity among Google News users to search out blog posts over mainstream media stories.


Published 4 January, 2007 by Robert Andrews

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