Microsoft Bing Nips at Google with 13.6% Search Share

Bing is the thing, or at least it was the big search engine for 13.6 percent of searchers in February. Google still dominates with 65.4 percent share, a needle that hasn't moved much.

Microsoft's Bing search engine grabbed 13.6 percent search share through February, up from 13.1 percent from January as the company continues to peck away at Google's search kingdom.

ComScore said Google dipped to 65.4 percent from 65.6 percent through January after closing the year at a high of 66.6 percent following a strong holiday season from its 1 billion-plus searchers.

Yahoo, whose search is served on the back end by Bing even as its rival approaches its search share, corralled 16.1 percent of search for the second consecutive month.

Despite Bing's gains, it has hardly moved the needle on Google, which has hovered around the 65 percent search mark for the better part of two years.

Even so, Bing's rise and Google's tiny dip come with some added juiciness this month after the search leader accused Bing of copying its results for certain queries.

Google noticed last year that Bing had the same results for some queries despite the fact that they were misspelled. Google created code that would allow it to manually rank a page for a certain term, and then created 100 synthetic searches to test its theory.

The fake queries returned no matches on Google or Bing, but Google placed a honeypot page to show up at the top of each synthetic search. A few weeks later, a small number of Bing search results appeared to copy Google's results from the synthetic searches.

Google concluded that some of the data the Bing toolbar collected clearly culled data about activities users may have been doing via Google. Microsoft denied copying Google results, noting that Bing uses customer data from its Bing toolbar to improve its search results.

The squabble was never formally resolved, but it became clearer than ever that Bing had captured Google's attention. Indeed, one of the issues that arose from the "copygate" allegation was that Google had a huge spam problem.

The company has moved to address this issue with a Chrome extension to let users block Websites, changing its algorithm to boot low-quality Websites, and by creating a tool to let users hide Websites they dislike.

Meanwhile, Bing may find itself at the wrong end of copycat allegations again if it launches an instant search feature as some expect it to do. This would presumably rival Google's Instant predictive search technology.