August 16, 2005--Google may be among the most highly-trafficked sites on the Internet, but a new study reveals there may be a reason they keep coming back.

In a customer satisfaction study conducted by the University of Michigan, Google was chosen above all other online portals and search engines.

The public's satisfaction with online portals increased a 5.6% from last year, and a 19% since 2000, according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) from University of Michigan, which conducts an annual phone survey of customer satisfaction with 200 companies in 41 different industries.

When it came to search engines and news sites, consumers were just as satisfied as they were in the university's report last year, though that report had shown a 17.6% jump in satisfaction on those sites since the study began measuring that category in 2002. Despite little change this year, search engines remained ahead of news sites and portals with a score of 80 out of a possible 100. Google continued to lead with 82, but Yahoo gained two points since last year to achieve a score of 80. Scores are based on equations linking customer expectation, perceived quality, customer loyalty and customer complaints.

"Google has managed to maintain such high customer satisfaction amidst so much change -- in both the industry and its own business model," customer satisfaction expert Larry Freed said in a statement that accompanied the report. The CEO of ForeSee Results, an Ann Arbor, Michiganweb satisfaction company that sponsors the study, Freed also mentioned the competition for internet users. "Google and Yahoo are neck-and-neck in terms of satisfying their customers and are leading the pack in revenue growth."

The scores for news and information sites revealed that no specific site made any gains. News was also the e-business category with the least gain in the history of the study of that category, jumping a mere 2.7% since 2002. topped the category with a score of 74, the rating it has had since it was first featured in 2002. Other news sites weren't far behind, ranging from 72 to 73. Freed added, "News and information sites have not been able to distinguish themselves from each other."