Microsoft's Bing carved out a 17.4 percent slice of the U.S. search engine market in May, according to the latest ComScore data provided by investment firm Macquarie Capital.
An investors note released today by Macquarie analyst Ben Schachter revealed that Bing's share in May rose only 0.10 percentage points from April. But that slow but steady rise showed an ongoing gain that's held relatively firm for the past three years.
Still, Google remains the search engine champ, well ahead of the other contestants. Its May market share showed an increase of 0.20 points from April, rising to 66.7 percent. Google's all-time high as recorded by ComScore was 67.5 percent in February of this year.
After rising in share for the prior two months, Yahoo slumped in May, losing 0.10 points to earn an 11.9 percent slice of the market. Still, the total number of Yahoo's search queries rose for the second straight quarter, compared with a year ago, its first annual increase since December 2011. And Schachter sees new efforts by management starting to pay off.
"While we remain cautious on the long-term structural challenges facing Yahoo, it would appear that the efforts of the new executive team are helping to stabilize [Yahoo's] near-term search volume and search share trends," the analyst said. "We expect additional product improvements/releases through [2013's second half] to help further this trend and maximize the value that Yahoo is able to extract from core search users, at least in the near term."
On a yearly basis, Bing's percentage of search queries in May jumped by 29 percent, Google's rose by 14 percent, and Yahoo's inched up 1 percent.
ComScore's data includes "explicit" searches, which are search terms that people manually enter on a Web page.
There is one major caveat to ComScore's monthly results. The stats don't include searches from mobile devices, which even ComScore says account for as much as 25 to 30 percent of all Internet search traffic. Without or without mobile devices included, though, Google still holds the dominant share.