Microsoft's efforts in the search space are finally starting to pay off, or at least make a difference, if the latest numbers from Experian Hitwise are to be trusted. They show "Bing-powered search," aka Bing and Yahoo combined, growing by 6 percent in the last month alone, mostly at the expense of Google.
"Google accounted for 67.95 percent of all U.S. searches conducted in the four weeks ending Jan. 29, 2011. Bing-powered search comprised 27.44 percent of searches for the month," Hitwise wrote.
"Yahoo! Search and Bing [recieved] 14.62 percent and 12.81 percent, respectively. The remaining 70 search engines in the Hitwise Search Engine Analysis report accounted for 4.61 percent of U.S. searches," it added.
The most interesting data though is related to the trends. While Bing has been raking in more market share since launch, little by little, Yahoo has been loosing share at an even faster rate.
The two combined didn't manage to see much headway in taking market share away from Google, which is Bing's ultimate goal. But Bing-powered search added almost 1.7 percent points in the first four weeks of January.
Bing saw the biggest gain, it added 2.2 percent points, a 21 percent growth, but Yahoo continued to bleed users. Yahoo lost 4 percent of its market share in the past month.
At the same time, Google lost 1.7 percent points from December, one of the biggest losses in recent history. Still, that's only a 2 percent drop in market share, hardly reason to worry for Google.
Of course, it's too early to draw any conclusions, this may be just an one-time thing or other research firms may not confirm the numbers.
Also, it would be hard to link the rise with the latest dispute between Bing and Google or even to the recent wave of criticism directed at Google on account of webspam. But it does show that Microsoft is doing at least something right.