Yahoo Inc. has overtaken Google Inc. for the first time in the scores of customer satisfaction, said a survey Tuesday done by the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
The report showed Yahoo had seen its customer satisfaction score rise 3.9 percent from a year ago to 79 out of 100 points, while Google's rating fell about 3.7 percent to 78 points.
While Google remains the dominant Web search engine, Yahoo's Internet presence is gaining user approval for its network of Web sites, e-mail, social networks and other features, according to the survey.
Yahoo's lead for customer satisfaction shows that the scores for each company are moving in opposite directions. Larry Freed, chief executive of ForeSee Results, which sponsored the ACSI report, said he believes that Yahoo! may experience a turn around in the upcoming year.
"People have gotten comfortable with the (Yahoo) interface," he said. "They've also done a good job in continuing to be dominant in communities and sub-functions of the portal. That's always been Yahoo's strength."
Google's search functions remain strong, but when it comes to the Web, customers look for marked improvements from year to year to say they are more satisfied, he added.
"Google needs to figure out a way to take advantage of those great applications they've developed," Freed said. "Not necessarily through advertising, but better marketing."
The ACSI method used data from interviews of nearly 70,000 customers to measure satisfaction with more than 200 companies in 45 industries. The Internet business data was compiled in the second quarter with at least 250 respondents for each company studied.