Though Google is still king of the search engine arena, Bing is creeping up, according to a report released yesterday by market researcher Experian Hitwise.
Looking at the global search engine market in January, Google took home almost 68 percent of all searches. But that marked a 2 percentage point dip from December. The number of searches run at Bing.com and Bing-powered sites collectively rose by 6 points, giving Microsoft's search engine a 27.4 percent cut of the market.
Breaking down the Bing results, Bing.com by itself accounted for 12.8 percent of all searches, a 21 percentage point jump from December. Searches conducted at Yahoo sites powered by Bing slid 4 points, giving those 14.6 percent of the market, said Experian Hitwise.
Further, Bing and Yahoo combined outscored Google in January's success rate, which indicates the number of search results that actually triggered a visit to a Web site. This rate is considered key as it measures not the quantity of searches but rather the accuracy and relevancy of the results returned. For the month, Bing/Yahoo scored an 81 percent success rate, according to the data, surpassing the 65 percent rate achieved by Google and virtually the same as the rates in December.
Google and Bing were both on the warpath recently after Google accused its rival of stealing its search results following a surprise sting operation. Reps from both companies found themselves in a heated exchange at a conference last week debating the accuracy and validity of Google's findings.
Launching such a sting operation could be a sign that Google is growing more concerned about Microsoft's rising chunk of the search engine market. Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently told reporters that he sees Microsoft and not Facebook as a major competitor, calling it the company with "more cash, more engineers, more global reach."