According to new figures released by market metrics firm Comscore, Microsoft’s Bing search engine accounted for 14.1 percent of the U.S. Internet search market in April 2011, an increase of 0.2 percent compared to March 2011. Although the gain may not seem very significant compared to Google’s share of the U.S. search market for the month—Comscore says that totaled 65.4 percent—it’s interesting for two reasons. One is that Microsoft’s search partner, Yahoo, also showed a 0.2 percent gain for the month, climbing to a 15.9 percent share. Second, ComScore found that Google’s share of the U.S. search market dropped by 0.3 percent for the month. That means Bing and Yahoo gained ground…and a lot of that ground came at Google’s expense.
Technically, Bing is still in third place overall, with its 14.1 percent share of the market slightly behind Yahoo at 15.9 percent. However, while Yahoo develops its own front end for search, the company has a long-term agreement with Microsoft that has Bing handling the back end of Yahoo searches in most markets, including the United States. Taken together, Bing would have handled about 4.9 billion “explicit core searches” from American users during the month, where Google handled 10.7 billion. Comscore’s “explicit core searches” exclude contextually-driven searches that “do not reflect specific user intent to interact with search results.”
Overall ComScore found search activity was down across the board from March to April, with Google handling 4 percent fewer “explicit core” queries in the month compared to March, with Yahoo and Bing each handling 3 percent fewer queries. Ask Network and AOL handled 6 percent and 9 percent fewer queries, respectively; they hold down the fourth and fifth places on the U.S. search engine rankings for the month with a 3 percent and 1.5 percent share of the market, respectively.