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Bing now No. 2 in search, passing Yahoo, Nielsen says

Bing has surpassed Yahoo for the first time to become the No. 2 search engine in the United States, according to a report Tuesday from The Nielsen Co.

Microsoft's revamped search engine had a 13.9 percent share of search volume in August, compared to Yahoo with 13.1 percent. (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

Search giant Google, of course, remains the leader, with 65 percent of the search market, Nielsen said, and has seen "little change in its share of search" over the past year. Meanwhile, "Yahoo has seen a small but steady decline," going from a 16 percent share to 13.1 percent, while Bing has gone from 10.7 percent in August 2009 to the current 13.9 percent.

Google, which has been busy with everything from its popular Android mobile operating system to setting up a possible pay-per-view service, has continued to make improvements to its search. Last week, it introduced Google Instant, with results given to users as they type the letters of words — not even the words themselves.

Bing was launched in June 2009 to generally positive reviews, and a month later, Microsoft and Yahoo announced they would partner in search. Last month, the companies said that Yahoo's transition to Bing's search engine is completed for the United States and Canada, and search results on Yahoo are now coming from Bing.

Under the 10-year Yahoo-Microsoft deal, Yahoo will use Bing’s search technology on its sites, and Microsoft will give Yahoo 88 percent of the revenues generated from paid search results.

Nielsen noted that Bing "officially started powering part of Yahoo searches" on Aug. 24, and that "if we combined Bing-powered search in August pro-forma, it would represent a 26 percent share of search."

SearchEngineland.com, which covers the search industry, notes that two other reports, from comScore and Hitwise, say that Yahoo still retains second place.

"The other numbers above argue that it’s too early to anoint Bing as the confirmed number two. But that would appear to be its trajectory," wrote Greg Sterling.