Microsoft's Bing Expands Capabilities, Picks Up Market Share

The latest numbers come as Microsoft continues to add new bells and whistles to the search site, including new computational capabilities from Wolfram/Alpha that help users get answers to questions about nutrition.

Experian Hitwise said that Bing accounted for 9.57 percent of all U.S. searches for the four-week period ending Oct. 31, a gain from the 8.96 percent share it held for the four weeks ended Oct. 3. That amounted to an overall gain of 7 percent for Bing, the research company said.

During the same time periods arch-rival Google saw its share of the search market decline slightly from 71.08 percent to 70.60 percent. Yahoo also saw its share of the search market decline slightly to 16.14 percent while usage of ticked up a bit to 2.62 percent. Experian Hitwise develops its results from monitoring Internet use in 10 million U.S. households.

The Experian Hitwise numbers don't differ a huge amount from market share numbers recently issued by Internet researcher Comscore, which put the share of all Microsoft search sites at 9.4 percent in September, up slightly from the previous month. Google's share hovered just below 65 percent, according to Comscore.

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Microsoft, meanwhile, continues to add to Bing's capabilities. The search engine now provides access to Wolfram/Alpha's advanced algorithms that offer up a nutrition tab when a user searches for specific food items. The new feature, for example, can answer the question of how many calories are in a 10-ounce steak, or whether an orange or a kiwi fruit has more vitamins.

The Wolfram/Alpha tools also help people calculate their body mass index, according to Microsoft.

Bing also now provides a preview snapshot of a Web site a user is about to visit, an improvement on the text-based Quick Preview the search engine has offered until now. Other Bing improvements include better integration with Facebook and Twitter, enhancements to Bing Maps and a rebranding of MSN Video to Bing Video.