Google continues its steady advance towards complete search domination, according to data released by Hitwise. The search giant’s marketshare increased to 68.29 percent in May, up from 67.9 percent in April and 65.13 in May 2007; year-over-year, that’s growth of almost 5 percent.

Naturally, Google’s success is at the expense of competitors like Yahoo and MSN, which fell to 19.95 percent and 5.85 percent, respectively. When we looked at comScore’s numbers for April, we noted that even if Microsoft bought Yahoo’s search technology, their combined marketshare would still be less than half of Google’s. According to Hitwise’s numbers, Google’s marketshare doesn’t just double Microsoft and Yahoo’s but also that of every competitor combined. (If we go by Hitwise’s numbers instead of comScore’s, this has been true for several months.)

Any web-based startup knows it’s crucial to maximize your ranking in Google’s search results — and Hitwise says those results are becoming even more important. Year-over-year, Google searches directed 17 percent more traffic to entertainment sites and 14 percent more traffic to business and finance sites and saw increases in all other categories.

The situation continues to look increasingly grim for the competition, particularly Yahoo, whose board is trying to fend off investor Carl Icahn’s attempted takeover. One of the most promising efforts to strike back at Google is Yahoo’s initiative to “open up” its search results, allowing those results to be improved by websites and developers. Last week, Yahoo unveiled the first applications in this effort, so we’ll see if that helps the company gain some traction.

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