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Bing Gains Ground Against Google

Microsoft's new search engine is building share but isn't close to catching market leader.

Microsoft's efforts to promote Bing and add features appear to be paying off, according to new data.

The search engine in August strengthened its third-place share of the U.S. market in August, capturing 9.3% of queries. That's a 4.5% jump over July, when Bing picked up 8.9% of search traffic, according to numbers confirmed Tuesday by market watcher Comscore.

The uptick helped Microsoft gain ground against Google, but the latter still has a choke hold on the U.S. search market. Google's share in August fell .1% compared to the previous month, to 64.6%. Yahoo, the number two player, held steady at 19.3%.

Yahoo and Microsoft recently struck a partnership under which Microsoft will place Bing on Yahoo's Web properties. In exchange, Yahoo will receive the lion's share of revenue from Bing searches that originate on Yahoo pages.

Microsoft earlier this month unveiled an enhancement to Bing that allows users of the search engine to find certain items by viewing images instead of sifting through pages of text-based Internet links.

For instance, a search on HDTVs yields rows of images of flat-panel televisions. The results can be grouped by manufacturer, display technology, screen size, and resolution. Similarly, a query on new cars renders pictures of various models that are sortable by automaker, mileage, price, and vehicle type.

At present, Bing's visual search engine is in the beta stage and is limited to several search categories predetermined by Microsoft. But company officials believe the technology has big potential and could help Microsoft close the gap with Google.

Microsoft shares were up 1% in late-morning trading Tuesday, to $25.55.

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