A new survey has ranked Yahoo! as the best search engine in terms of customer satisfaction, it has been revealed.

The University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) found that Yahoo! was rated higher by web users than its fiercest competitors Google, Ask and Microsoft.

The research found that Yahoo! scored 79 out of 100, an increase of four per cent on last year, while Google dropped by the same figure to score 78 out of 100.

It was suggested that design changes and site enhancements were one of the reasons for Yahoo’s success with some users saying that Google had become "stale".

Ask.com’s, whose design was also favoured to Google’s, saw the biggest increase in customer satisfaction levels with a six per cent increase leaving it with a score of 75.

The ACSI considers customer satisfaction against a range of companies and products and also looks at areas such as the auto industry and computer hardware.

Yahoo! also announced last week that it would host an online-only debate for US Democratic presidential candidates including Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton.

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