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Bing Gains In Search Share

Microsoft's "decision engine" is helping the company increase its presence in the search market.
Microsoft's new Bing search engine is off to a good start.

The site last week attracted 16.7% of all search users, up from 15.8% the previous week, according to market watcher ComScore. For the week of May 25, when Bing launched, its share stood at 13.7%.

"It appears that Microsoft Bing has continued to generate interest from the market for the second consecutive week," said Mike Hurt, ComScore's senior VP. "These early data reflect a continued positive market reaction to Bing in the initial stages of its launch."

Microsoft is looking to make a bigger splash in the search market. Through the first nine months of 2008, the company committed more than $1.5 billion to acquiring search, or search-driven businesses -- including a $1.3 billion buyout of enterprise specialists Fast Search & Transfer.

It's also positioning Bing not just as a search site, but as a so-called "decision engine." Bing includes features that allow users to book travel and engage in other e-commerce transactions with just a few clicks.

Redmond hopes to catch up to Google in search market share. But it's got its work cut out. Google presently controls about 65% of the U.S. search market, while Microsoft owns only about 8% of the market, according to ComScore. Yahoo, the No. 2 player, held 20% of the market, as of May.

Bing's debut in late May was not without controversy. Microsoft took heat for a feature in Bing search that allows users to watch full-motion snippets of porn videos -- China and certain Muslim countries have disabled the function -- but the software maker is emphasizing that Bing also includes tools, such as SafeSearch, that allow users to block anything they might find offensive.

Microsoft also has added a tool that lets network managers enforce the SafeSearch mode at the network level.