Photo: AP

Microsoft claims Bing, its search engine for people who have just unboxed a new computer and are trying to find out where to download Chrome, is bigger than you think.

Stats released by the company this week claim Bing enjoys an astonishing 33 percent market share in the US, which is far higher than the frankly more believable 9 percent it reports worldwide. According to Microsoft, the 33 percent market share amounts to some 5 billion searches.

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This is surprising, because as Ars Technica’s Peter Bright noted, the most common reaction he gets when he says he uses the site at all is slack-jawed stares and stupid questions. I, for one, can’t remember a single time I’ve used Bing in recent memory, other than the aforementioned use of installing a web browser that doesn’t use Bing.

If Microsoft’s metrics are to be believed, it’s quite a coup: Half a decade ago, some rankings had it come in at under 3 percent of global searches. The numbers seem to go up and down depending on the source, but the most generous prior estimate (from Comscore last year) put Microsoft at just north of 21 percent—though it’s possible to get to the 33 percent market share number considering Bing technology powers Yahoo’s search engine.

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None of that counts mobile queries, where Google has a functional global monopoly with virtually no meaningful competition whatsoever.

So few web-savvy people seem to use Bing that those who do are a sort of curiosity, though that might just be compartmentalization: If you’re a heavy Google user, using Chrome tied to a Gmail account, it might not ever occur to you that Bing even exists.

But since the vast majority of new computer sales are for Windows devices, which come preloaded with Bing-defaulting browsers Internet Explorer or Edge, one would imagine there’s enough workplace users, old people, folks who don’t give a damn and others of their ilk to make up a big share of the market. They’re real and they’re out there, just Binging it up, occasionally not noticing sand penises.

[Ars Technica]