Search query traffic to Microsoft Bing increased 18 percent in August, giving the nascent search service 9.48 percent of the U.S. search market, according to a sample survey of 10 million users by HitWise.
Bing's growth, up from an 8 percent share in July, seems to have come at the expense of Google and Yahoo. Google commanded 70.24 percent of U.S. search in August, down 2 percent from 71.4 percent in July. Yahoo was No. 2 with 16.96 percent, declining 1 percent from 17.2 in July, HitWise said. Here is the full data sheet.
HitWise is the third researcher to release stats for U.S. search in August, following Nielsen and comScore.
Nielsen said Bing grabbed 10.7 percent of the U.S. search engine market in August, a 22 percent growth, which the researcher said came largely at the expense of Yahoo.
One week later, comScore said Bing notched 9.3 percent of the U.S. search engine market share in August, up from 8.9 percent in July. However, comScore tracked Yahoo as holding steady and its numbers indicated Google and AOL lost share slightly to Bing.
While the three researchers highlighted that Bing has made impressive gains since its launch in June, financial analysts are taking a more cautious view of Bing's traction. Many observers attribute Bing's rapid success to curiosity from searchers going to Bing to see how it compares to Google.
Bing is getting high marks from most users who test it, but there is no evidence to suggest users are leaving market leader Google in droves for Bing.
Bing faces an uphill climb, but hopes to help itself by partnering to power Yahoo search, which would give Bing nearly 30 percent of the search market should the deal clear regulatory hurdles in 2010.
Bing has also been offering some unique innovations, including Bing Visual Search and Bing and Ping shared search. Bing has also beaten Google to indexing Twitter tweets in real time. However, it is too early to tell whether these features will make Bing successful enough to help it gain sustained market share versus Google.
HitWise also tracks search query length, noting that longer search queries were down slightly in August. Longer search queries, or those with five to more than eight words in length, decreased 2 percent between July and August 2009. Searches of eight or more words decreased 2 percent.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt regularly says on conference calls that users are conducting longer, more sophisticated searches on Google.