Google’s share of the UK search market has dipped to its lowest point in five years, as Microsoft's Bing search engine starts to gain traction.
Experian Hitwise reports that 89.33% of all UK Internet searches were conducted on Google Sites in October, down from 90.74% in September.
Meanwhile, Microsoft sites, led by the Bing engine, increased market share from 3.98% to 4.71% of all searches during the same period. This was a 2012 peak for Microsoft, which was also ahead by 0.86% year-on-year.
Yahoo and Ask sites also saw marginal growth in their market shares, with their share of searches up 0.50% and 0.13% respectively.
James Murray, digital insight manager for Hitwise, put the increase in Microsoft’s market share down to the launch of Windows 8 in October, with Bing set as the default search engine.
“Online searches for Windows 8 increased by 120% throughout October showing the increased online interest for Microsoft’s new operating system,” Murray wrote in a blog post.
He added that, although Google still maintains a huge competitive edge over the other search engines, this is encouraging news for Microsoft, indicating that Bing is starting to gain some momentum in the UK.
Microsoft launched its Windows 8 operating system on 25 October, and the company's CEO Steve Ballmer claims that demand has been strong ever since, with preliminary demand well above what was seen with Windows 7.
Both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 come with Bing pre-installed as the default search engine – a controversial choice given that almost all other mobile operating systems have opted for Google.
However, Microsoft developers have been working hard to make Bing more user-friendly, with the inclusion of user comments, likes and activities posted in popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
In July, for example, Microsoft also announced the inclusion of tips and recommendations from Foursquare users in Bing search results. The search engine displays the Foursquare content in its social sidebar, which launched in the spring.