Bing bites Google very, very slightly

The latest usage share data tabulated by StatCounter, a private Web analytics service, confirms that Microsoft's new Bing search engine really did capture usage share of US Web users from rival Google, without damaging share numbers for #2 search engine Yahoo. Just how bad was the damage? Bing gained 0.42% usage share in June from predecessor Windows Live's US numbers, while Google's declined by about that much.

Bing's US-based usage share now stands at 8.23%, StatCounter estimates, based on numbers that closed out yesterday, June 30. This compared to Yahoo at 11.04% and Google at 78.48%.

StatCounter's analysts called the event a "positive trend." We put this trend on a little graph for ourselves, and we estimated that if Microsoft were to keep up this trend indefinitely at this rate -- capturing just under half a percent per month from Google -- it could catch up to the American search engine leader in nine years.

From a global perspective, though, the trend doesn't look so predictable: Ever since Bing consolidated the search services of Windows Live and MSN, Bing's global numbers have not consistently outperformed the trend for its two predecessors combined. Only in recent days, Bing has outperformed Windows Live/MSN globally, according to StatCounter's statistics, by about a third of one percent. This while Google's usage share numbers flirt with the 90% mark.

However, StatCounter's statistics differ dramatically from those being compiled by analytics competitor NetApplications. This morning, NetApplications tallies Google's global usage share at 81.22%, versus StatCounter's last reported 89.45%. And according to NetApplications, Bing is pulling in 5.31% of global searches, while StatCounter estimates that figure to be 3.36%.

So if Microsoft wants to be really hopeful about this, it can tout the fact that the margin of error for these predictions appears to be plus or minus 100%.

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