Bing-powered searches rise as Google loses share

Microsoft's Bing search engine is on the rise, while Google's still-dominant market share has dropped to about two-thirds of all U.S. searches, according to new data from Experian Hitwise.

Google.com accounted for 66.69 per cent of all U.S. searches in the four weeks ending Feb. 26, down from 67.95 per cent the previous month, Experian Hitwise said.

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Bing searches, including searches on Bing-powered Yahoo.com, improved from 27.44 per cent in January to 28.48 per cent in February.

Hitwise data shows that a little more than half of Bing-powered searches in the United States are still occurring on Yahoo's Web site, rather than on Bing itself. However, another report this month, by StatCounter, found that Bing has overtaken Yahoo for the first time on a global basis.

Still another report due to be released today, from ComScore, will also show Google searches declining in the face of competition from Bing and Yahoo. ComScore found that Bing was up to 13.6 per cent of the U.S. market in February, a half a percentage point higher than the previous month, according to an article by Bloomberg. A ComScore spokesperson said the report will be issued at the end of the day Friday, but confirmed the accuracy of the numbers quoted by Bloomberg.

ComScore also found that Google's search share dropped from 65.6 per cent in January to 65.4 per cent in February, while Yahoo stayed at roughly 16.1 per cent.

While Hitwise and ComScore data are pretty similar, StatCounter's method of tracking shows a much larger lead for Google. According to StatCounter, Google has 89.94 per cent of the global search engine market and 79.63 per cent of the U.S. market. Worldwide, StatCounter gives Bing a 4.37 per cent market share, higher than Yahoo's 3.93 per cent, but says Yahoo is still ahead of Bing slightly in the United States.

StatCounter has tracking code installed on 3 million Web sites worldwide, and looks at about 2 billion referrals from search engines a month. Experian Hitwise says it tracks data from 25 million Internet users on 1 million Web sites. ComScore tracks more than 3 million Web sites.

Microsoft launched Bing in June 2009 and later that year announced the deal that led to Bing's search technology powering Yahoo's search engine. Microsoft has also teamed up with Facebook on a social search tool to help drive up Bing's popularity.

Microsoft can take pride in the fact that Bing and Yahoo searches have higher success rates than Google searches. According to Hitwise, 81 per cent of Bing and Yahoo searches resulted in a visit to a Web site, compared to Google's success rate of just 66 per cent.

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin

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Jon Brodkin

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