Microsoft's Bing grabs early momentum in search race

Another report shows that new search engine is gaining some ground on Google

Microsoft Corp.'s Bing search engine is off to a hearty start, according to yet another study.

The Bing offering, an update to Microsoft Live Search, is already getting noticeably more attention than its never-taken-to-the-prom predecessor, according to a report released today by ComScore Inc., an online market tracker. Microsoft unveiled Bing late last month at The Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital conference in Carlsbad, Calif.

Just days after Bing was launched, comScore reports that Microsoft increased its search market share to 11.1% from 9.1%.

"These initial data suggest that Microsoft Bing has generated early interest, resulting in a spike in search engagement and an immediate term improvement to Microsoft's position in the search market," said Mike Hurt, comScore senior vice president, in a statement. "So far, it appears that the lifts in search penetration and engagement have held relatively steady throughout the five-day period. The ultimate performance of Bing depends on the extent to which it generates more trial through its extensive launch campaign and whether it retains those trial users. It appears it is off to a good start."

The report from comScore comes on the heels of a study out late last week from StatCounter Global Stats showing that Bing surpassed Yahoo Inc. to become the number two search engine both in the U.S. and worldwide. StatCounter, which analyzes Web site traffic, also shows that Bing grabbed some market share from rival Google Inc.

The StatCounter report is based on analysis of search engine use four days after the new search engine became available on June 1. It found that while Google still dominates the U.S. search engine market with a 71.47% share, Bing holds 16.28% of the market and Yahoo is third at 10.22%.

"It remains to be seen if Bing falters at all after the initial novelty and promotion but at first sight it looks like Microsoft is on to a winner," said Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter, in a statement last week.

Microsoft Bing, which was code-named Kumo, comes with a phalanx of related services, including Bing Travel, Cashback and Maps for Enterprise. Paired with the company's hefty marketing muscle, the new service is expected to help Microsoft take on search behemoth Google.

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Sharon Gaudin

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