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Bing Search Share Up 88% Since Launch

Microsoft slowly but surely starting to eat into Google's dominant position in U.S. search market.

Microsoft continues to make gains in the U.S. Internet search market as its overall share jumped 7% in June compared to the previous month.

While the software maker's gains are coming mostly at the expense of partner Yahoo, whose search operations it will soon absorb, new data shows that Bing is also chipping away at Google's dominant position.

Bing captured 9.85% of all U.S. searches in June, up from 9.23% in May, according to data released Thursday by Experian Hitwise. Yahoo's share held roughly steady at 14.37%, while Google's market share fell 1% month-to-month, from 72.17% to 71.65%.

Bing's short-term climb is impressive, but a longer view shows Microsoft's upstart search engine making even bigger inroads against its main rival.

Microsoft launched Bing in June of 2009, when it captured 5.25% of the U.S. market. With its share currently at 9.85%, Bing has grown 88% in just 12 months. Yahoo's share has declined 11.24% over the same period, while Google is down 3.2% over that span.

While those numbers might not strike fear into Google, the trend should evoke at least some concern from the search leader. Microsoft, after all, will likely become a more formidable competitor later this year or early next when its partnership with Yahoo fully takes effect. Under the deal, Bing will become the default search engine on Yahoo's Web properties. In exchange, Microsoft will share revenue generated by those searches with Yahoo.

Bing, according to Microsoft, is designed to deliver a more functional experience than existing search engines, including Google's.

That is, queries entered into Bing yield not only information related to the search term, but also links to sites where users can make immediate purchases or engage in other activities related to their queries. For instance, a search on Bing for, say, flights to Hawaii, coughs up real-time pricing and seat availability, and lets users make a booking then and there.

Microsoft's gains show that Google, for its part, must continue to innovate if it's to maintain its healthy lead in search.

Microsoft shares were off .90%, to $24.19, in afternoon stock market trading Friday. Google was up 1.69% to $464.28 while Yahoo was ahead 1.58%, to $14.83.

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