Microsoft Bing nabs more web searches in February

Microsoft's Bing search engine gained market share in the US in February, according to research groups.

Microsoft has worked for years to improve its search technology and narrow the gap with Google. After launching its redesigned search site last June, the company waged a major marketing campaign to position Bing as better than Google or No. 2 Yahoo for shopping, booking travel and searching for medical information.

Microsoft remains in the No. 3 spot, but Bing's share of US searches has crept up a few percentage points since its June 2009 launch, primarily at Yahoo's expense, according to research groups.

Now there's a sign - albeit a small one - that Bing may also be tempting some Googlers.

The Nielsen Co., one of the research groups that tracks the space, said Tuesday that Bing's share of US searches crept up to 12.5 per cent from 10.9 percent in January. Yahoo's share slipped to 14.1 per cent from 14.5 per cent, and Google's decreased to 65.2 from 66.3, Nielsen said.

But tracking Web searches is an imprecise business, and methods and estimates vary among research groups. Last week, comScore Inc. published its own February search rankings, which showed Google gaining a tenth of a percent to 65.5 per cent. Microsoft's share edged up to 11.5 per cent from 11.3 per cent by comScore's count, while Yahoo's slice of US Web searches slipped to 16.8 per cent from 17 per cent.