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Bing gains on Google, as stats suggest it’s the “better” search engine

Slowly but surely, Microsoft’s Bing is starting to carve out a bigger share of the highly lucrative search engine market.

According to comScore, Bing’s market share was 13.1 percent in January, up a full percentage point from the previous month. Although it may not seem like much, a one percent gain in just a month represents quite a swing, particularly as it came at the expense of long-time market leader Google. Bing is now at its highest level in terms of market share since it launched in June 2009.

Meanwhile, Yahoo's search share held steady at 16.1 percent in January. Bing powers Yahoo's search, so taken together, they have a market share of 29.2 percent, again the closest the combined operations have come to Google.

One of the reasons for Bing’s increased share could be its high “success” rate. In the search engine business, a successful search is one that results in a visit to a web site. According to market intelligence company Hitwise, Bing’s success rate was 81 percent, well ahead of Google’s 65 percent.

Although a Google spokesperson questioned the accuracy of Hitwise’s analysis,  it’s clear that Bing is gaining in both popularity and reputation in a market that Google has dominated for the last 10 years.

Meanwhile Bing continues to make improvements. On February 10, it began testing personalized search, which returns results based on previous searches. For example, when a person uses the same search term several times and clicks on a link in the results page, Bing will begin “surfacing” that link to the top of the page for all subsequent searches.

Bing will also tailor results based on location, specifically targeting results to a user's city. For example, if a Manhattan-based user searches for “movie listings”, Bing will retrieve movies and show times for theaters in New York City. Again, the idea is to deliver relevant information faster, so the user doesn’t have to keep refining his or her search terms.

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