With all the focus on the proposed Microsoft-Yahoo deal, there's one set of statistics that has drawn a lot more attention of late. Even though they come...

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With all the focus on the proposed MicrosoftYahoo deal, there’s one set of statistics that has drawn a lot more attention of late.

Even though they come out every month — like, say, the Consumer Price Index or home sales — measurement of search-engine traffic seems to have an elevated importance these days.

But Microsoft decided to make a “big announcement” Thursday — that it was widening access to critical programming information for Windows, Office and other key products.

Lost in the shuffle that day were the January Internet search-market share figures from comScore. It turned out none of the major search engines saw their market share change either way by more than a percentage point.

The biggest loser was Yahoo, whose share declined 0.7 point from December to 22.2 percent in January.

Google remained the leader by a country mile with 58.5 percent of the nearly 10.5 billion Internet searches in the U.S. last year.

Microsoft held on to third, it’s market share unchanged at 9.8 percent.

Earlier in the month, another measurement service, Hitwise, showed Google at nearly 66 percent of all searches, compared with 63 percent the year before.

Yahoo was at nearly 21 percent, down slightly. MSN‘s search (which includes Live.com) came in at 6.9 percent, down from 10.35 percent.

A taxing amount

When you look at that mystifying cellphone bill every month, you probably sighed when looking at the taxes that contribute to the total.

You’re not delusional.

In a new study released by CTIA — The Wireless Association, Washington state ranked second in the nation in the combined federal, state and local tax rate on mobile phone bills: 20.62 percent a month.

In other words, $1 of every $5 of the bill goes toward taxes. Only Nebraska, at 22.54 percent, ranked higher.

The average of all states and the District of Columbia was 15.2 percent. A couple of other states: New York (4) at 20.13 percent and California (10) at 16.86 percent.

The lowest? That would be neighboring Oregon, at 5.85 percent.

The report, by Scott Macky, a partner at Kimbell Sherman Ellis in Montpelier, Vt., did note that the state-local component dropped to 11 percent in July 2007 from 11.14 percent the year before.

Plugged in

Seattle City Light is getting on the smart-charging bandwagon.

The public utility said it will monitor the performance of 13 plug-in hybrid vehicles using technology developed by V2Green, a local startup founded by a former Microsoftie.

V2Green develops software and hardware to help utilities handle charging loads for electric vehicles — a business that could boom if the cars become more popular.

V2Green’s equipment will collect data on fuel efficiency and electricity usage, and send it to analysts at the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Labs.

Other utilities are also part of the experiment, but Seattle’s fleet is the largest.

The Toyota Priuses that will be monitored will be driven by Seattle City Light, the City of Seattle, the Port of Seattle, the Puget Sound Clear Air Agency and King County.

Download, a column of news bits, observations and miscellany, is gathered by The Seattle Times technology staff. We can be reached at 206-464-2265 or biztech@seattletimes.com.