Bing lunges ahead; Microsoft grabs 11% of search market

As the search war continues, Bing takes another small step against dominant Google

Microsoft Corp.'s Bing had a really strong August as the company took another step in its effort to boost its standing in the search engine market.

Bing, which Microsoft introduced in May to do battle with Google Inc.'s dominant search engine, saw its share of the search market grow by 22.1% from 9% in July to 10.7% in August, according to The Nielsen Co. That performance made Bing the fastest growing search engine in Nielsen's top 10 list.

Despite the strong growth, Bing still lags far behind Google, long the leading search engine.

In a report released this week, Nielsen said that Google held 64.6% of the search market last month, up 2.6% from July. Yahoo Inc.'s search engine was a distant second, with 16% of the market in August, 4.2% less than it had in July.

Microsoft has been busy beefing up Bing in hopes that it will eventually give Google a run for its money.

Earlier this week, Microsoft released a beta version of a tool called Visual Search, which is designed to let Bing users search through galleries of images instead of mainly text. Visual Search met with applause from some analysts.

And in another shot at Google, Microsoft this summer agreed to enter into a partnership with Yahoo. The proposed alliance -- which still must pass antitrust muster -- could give the two companies some much-needed leverage in their ongoing battle against Google.

The agreement calls for Bing to power Yahoo's Web sites and for Yahoo to handle sales of premium search advertising services for both companies.

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