For Europeans, as with Americans, the noun Google has become a verb, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.

Its latest report on internet usage reveals that over 55 million Europeans -- 47% of the continent's digital media universe -- chose the Google brand in January as their preferred internet search engine.

This puts the Mountain View, California-headquartered company way ahead of other US-based European rivals such as MSN, Yahoo! and AOL, even local competitors like Germany's T-Online, Italy's Virgilio and Voila of France.

Top Ten Search Channels in Europe - January 2004
The figures respectively indicate: Unique Audience / Active Reach% / Pages per person / Minutes per person.

01. Google … 55,641,382 (47.3%) … [52] … 15:24
02. MSN … 27,151,382 … (23.1%) … [12] … 04:08
03. Yahoo! … 12,676,097 … (10.8%) … [21] … 07:30
04. Google Images …10,275,673 … (8.7%) … [36] … 09:13
05. AOL … 5,846,613 … (5.0%) … [20] …09:05
06. Virgilio … 4,350,538 (3.7%) … [24] … 07:57
07. T-Online … 3,898,809 … (3.3%) … [8] … 04:15
08. Voila … 3,458,755 … (2.9%) … [17] … 08:03
09. Lycos Europe … 3,117,113 … (2.7%) … [13] … 04:54
10. Microsoft Search … 2,683,728 … (2.28%) … [3] … 01:51

Comments NNR's European Market analyst Tom Ewing: "Google’s dominance may appear unshakeable, but with some of the biggest brands on the internet developing rival search technologies, the next eighteen months will prove crucial for this sector."

[Ever wondered why Google's student founding fathers named their fledgling brand thus? WAMN had no idea either, so we checked (via Google, where else?) and discovered that Googol is the mathematical term for a 1 followed by 100 zeros. A large number roughly equivalent to the company's current worth.]

Data sourced from: Daily Research News Online; additional content by WARC staff