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Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, now has 27 percent of the search engine market and is quickly gaining on Google, according to Hitwise. Bing’s share rose by 6 percent in the month of January alone.

The bigger news, and perhaps the underlying reason for the rise: Microsoft’s Bing might be the better search engine. Hitwise says that Google’s “success rate” is just 65 percent, compared with an 82 percent score for Bing. The success rate is the percentage of times users click on links yielded by searches.

Google is still by far the most popular search engine, with 68 percent of the market. Hitwise measures 70 other search engines, which together share 4.6 percent of the market.

ZDNet’s Larry Dignan writes that “Microsoft’s deal with Yahoo [to run Bing results in Yahoo searches] appears to be paying off.” In one sense, that’s true: Without Yahoo, Bing’s market share would be just 12.8 percent. But searches on Yahoo fell in January, from 15.2 percent of the total to 14.6 percent, while searches at Bing.com rose by 21 percent.

I fully agree with Dignan, though, when he says that Bing is increasingly looking like a threat to Google.

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