Bing buoyant as Google search suffers further investigation

Microsoft's Bing search engine has overtaken Yahoo! search, digital tracker comScore reports, though the gap between it and Google's increasingly noticeable market dominance continues to grow. Bing had 15.1-percent of the core US search market in December 2011, the stat company says, putting it 0.7-percent ahead of Yahoo!'s falling share. However, Google rose 0.5-points to 65.9-percent, responsible for two thirds of the 18.2bn US searches made, and faces calls for FTC investigation for potential antitrust behavior.

Although a rise in market share is usually something to celebrate, Google may be less than keen to shout about its premiere position in the segment. The company has come under renewed interest recently over its integration of Google+ data into search results, a move it calls "Search plus Your World" but which others have argued is a misuse of its dominance to boost usage of its social network.

Twitter was outspoken in its criticism of the new system, claiming to be concerned that it would make relevant tweets harder to find. Meanwhile, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) announced earlier this week that it was considering filing a complaint with the US FTC over Google's changes, pointing to the fact that users "cannot opt out of having their information found through Google search."

That threat has since been acted on, with EPIC urging the Trade Commission to investigate Google. "Google's business practices raise concerns related to both competition and the implementation of the Commission's consent order" the group wrote. It's demands echo those of the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, which put in its own call for an investigation back in December.

Google has previously argued that, while it has the leading share in search, it is not exhibiting antitrust behaviors of the sort that caused Microsoft problems a decade ago. The FTC is yet to comment on whether it will be undertaking an investigation.