Bing, Microsoft’s decision search engine, has been chipping away at the market share of its competitors since its official launch on May 28th this year. On an average, Bing has gained about half a percent a month and an overall 1.3% (9.3% in August, 8.9% in July, 8.4% in June and 8% in May) gain in the three months succeeding its launch. In about the same period Google, the market leader registered a fall of 0.3% to 64.7% while Yahoo came down by the same amount to 19.3% (source: ComScore). In August, Bing grew faster than Google for the first time, with a 31.9 percent annual increase in search queries compared to 21.6 percent growth for Google and 16.8 percent for Yahoo. So the rise in the market share of this Microsoft search engine does seem to be at the expense of the other two.

Some experts consider these early gains in the Bing market share the result of superior technology from its recent acquisitions and better algorithms for seeking the context underlying a search. Many users feel aerial photos available via Bing are more up to date and have better clarity than the corresponding Google photos. The eye-catching design too is bound to have helped Bing made inroads with viewers.

Skeptics, however, contend that this so-called increase in market share is driven by any number of factors such as the curiosity engendered by a new launch, the publicity and media hype that a hundred million dollar marketing drive is likely to generate, the fact that Bing is the default search engine on the latest versions of IE and Microsoft’s cash back offer for Bing users and is highly unlikely to last. Some of the skeptics also are casting doubts on the veracity of the statistics by stigmatizing the sources as unreliable.

A strong competitor to Google in the search market can only be good news for users. Google has for too long been almost a monopoly. The more choices that consumers get the more likely it is that necessity will drive more and more innovations in the search engine market.