updated 3/16/2010 8:30:52 PM ET 2010-03-17T00:30:52

Researchers say Microsoft's Bing search engine is gaining market share in the U.S.

(Msnbc.com is a joint Microsoft - NBC Universal venture.)

The software maker has worked for years to improve its search technology. It launched Bing, a redesigned search site, last June.

Bing's share of searches has crept up since then, but Microsoft remains in third place behind Yahoo and Google.

So far, most of Bing's gains have come at Yahoo's expense, researchers say. But now there's a small sign that Bing may also be tempting some Googlers. Analysts at The Nielsen Co. say Bing's share of U.S. searches rose to 12.5 percent in February, while Yahoo's and Google's shares both edged down.

It's not a clear trend, though. By comScore Inc.'s measure, Google's February share still gained a tenth of a percent.

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