For the second straight month since its release, Microsoft's newly-minted Bing search engine has made small gains against second-place player Yahoo! and dominant market leader Google. These kinds of gains would normally elicit little excitement, but Bing's predecessor, Windows Live Search, did nothing but lose market share over the previous year.

According to comScore, Bing accounted for 8.9 percent of search queries in the United States in July, up from 8.4 percent in June and 8 percent in May. Both Google and Yahoo! saw their share of search queries fall in the same time period, to 64.7 percent and 19.3 percent respectively.

The web tracking firm notes that Bing garnered 29 million more search queries in July than it had in June. Bing fielded a total of 1.21 billion search queries in July in the United States.

Questions remain, of course. Bing's gains are modest at best, and the service is currently being backed by a $100 million advertising campaign. (And that doesn't include the untold billions Microsoft spent on research and development around search.) It's unclear whether Bing will continue to leach market share away from the bigger players going forward.

On the other hand, barring any unforeseen antitrust issues, Microsoft will soon begin pushing its Bing service out to Yahoo! users as well. The combined share of Bing and Yahoo! in July was 28.2 percent in the United States, up from 28 percent in June. Those two services combined still account for less than 50 percent of Google's share, but they represent a significant number two player, and an attractive alternative for advertisers.

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