Microsoft's Bing search engine is gaining ground on Google. Bing now powers 30 percent of U.S. searches, according to new data from tracking firm Hitwise. That's still less than half of Google's 64 percent share, but Bing has made "impressive" gains over the last six months — and if the trendlines continue, it could actually overtake Google next year, says Christina Warren at Mashable. Could Bing really take over as the top search engine?

Microsoft definitely has momentum: Since October, Bing has jumped from 24 percent of the search market to 30 percent, says Warren at Mashable. Sure, Google still has a 2-to-1 edge, but "that ratio was 3 to 1 last fall." If Bing keeps up this pace, it would surpass Google in less than a year. Whether or not that actually happens, it's clear that Bing is establishing itself as a "search superpower."
"Could Bing overtake Google in 2012?"

Don't believe Bing's inflated numbers: "Is Bing gaining enough to start speculating about Google’s downfall? Not remotely," says Jeremy Scott at ReelSEO. Bing's upswing is certainly noteworthy, but Warren's projections are just "ridiculous." Plus, more than half of Bing's market share still comes through its deal to handle searches on Yahoo!. "Google could buy Yahoo and steal that market share right back."
"Relax, people, Bing isn't overtaking Google anytime soon"

Still, Google should be looking over its shoulder: About half of Bing's gains have come at Google's expense, says Jared Newman at TIME. And according to the Hitwise data, Bing produces better results than Google, "so maybe users are enjoying Microsoft's search and going back to it more than Google." Bing is "unlikely" to overtake the reigning search champ by 2012, but it is "on track to become a serious threat." Bing's rapid growth "should be worrisome for Google."
"3 of 10 U.S. web searches powered by Bing"