Bing gains more ground in July, this time on Google

After a huge launch in late May and an $80 million publicity push, Bing continued to gain search engine market share, according to Web tracker StatCounter. This is the second consecutive month that Bing has showed growth.

But July looks different in one key respect. According to the numbers, Bing wasn't picking flesh off the carcass of the soon-to-be shut down Yahoo! (YHOO) search. No, Bing was stealing users from the big kahuna, Google (GOOG), as explained by the social media blog Mashable.

Granted, it's a gain of a piddly 1.25 percent. And the gain comes in July, which is traditionally a relatively slow traffic month on the Internet. But the sustained momentum is impressive. Bing skeptics had said the Microsoft (MSFT) product had some spiffy features but was not differentiated enough to grab real market share or convince inveterate Googlers to change their search stripes.

Equally important, the skeptics said, was how would Bing do without the benefit of Microsoft's advertising squad effectively buying up all display space on a host of very popular sites, such as TechCrunch and Mashable itself, among others. (A more darkly worded accusation from a few quarters was that Microsoft was trying to buy good coverage for Bing from prominent bloggers by throwing fistfuls of dollars at those sites in the form of Bing banner ads.)

Is Bing's gain statistically significant? Impossible to tell. Interest in Bing could actually be declining back down in August as the halo effect from June's PR blitz wears off. And such a small gain can be constituted as background noise quite easily. Then again, noise in the other direction for Bing would have been a huge blow considering the resources Microsoft has thrown behind its new search engine and the fact that Yahoo is about to toss its own search out the window in favor of Redmond's search squad.
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