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Bing: Google gets some real competition

Microsoft's search engine, Bing, does a few things better than the giant.

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It’s hard to compete when your opponent’s name is so popular that it’s become a verb. Such is the plight of every search engine that dares to challenge Google.

Last year, four search engines made up more than 95 percent of all search traffic: Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask. Only Google increased its share of the pie that year, eating up 67 percent of all searches in January and 72 percent by 2009, according to the online traffic monitor Hitwise.

But something changed this year. Microsoft retired its MSN site and launched a new search engine called Bing. Now, this newcomer is the only one gobbling more of the pie, almost doubling MSN’s share since Bing launched in June. Bing is still relatively small. Hitwise says it served about 10 percent of searches in October. But its new formula distinguishes itself from Google’s in several interesting and useful ways. No wonder it’s grabbed more converts than any competitor this year.

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