Yandex has surpassed Microsoft's Bing by the number of search requests and become the fourth most popular search engine in the world after Google, Baidu and Yahoo!, data provided by Internet analytics company Comscore shows.
Comscore counted the number of search requests on all sites and services associated with each online search engine to compile the rankings, meaning the Yandex rating included requests on its Auto service and others as well, Vedomosti.
Having first beat Microsoft in November, Yandex consolidated the lead in December 2012, with 4.84 billion requests against Microsoft Bing's 4.47 billion, Yandex spokeswoman Tatyana Komarova said.
The Russian search engine first entered the top 10 online services in December 2007, Vedomosti said.
Komarova said the company owes its success to the rapid growth of Russia's online community, which gained 17 percent in 2012 and reached 42.2 million users. Yandex remains the undisputed leader among Russian online services, with a 60.5 percent share of the market — leaving Google in second place with 26.4 percent, the report said.
Among the leading search engines, only Yandex and China's Baidu saw the number of search requests grow in December 2012, by 28 and 13 percent, respectively, compared with the same period of the previous year. Google and Microsoft's Bing, on the other hand, each lost 10 percent, and Yahoo! 19 percent, according to Comscore.
The total number of search requests in the world fell 5 percent in 2012, the company said.
The scope of Comscore statistics is limited, however: It does not account for search requests from mobile devices, whose share has grown significantly in recent years. In 2012, 712.6 million smartphones, 130 million tablets and 352 million desktop computers and notebooks were sold in Russia, Vedomosti reported.
"People are using more mobile devices and, therefore, search requests are also shifting in that direction," Google spokeswoman Alla Zabrovskaya said. The number of Google search requests from mobile devices grew 80 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 against the same period a year ago, she said.
A Microsoft representative declined to comment.