In the first week following the launch of its new ‘decision engine‘, Bing, Microsoft’s search property saw its average daily penetration amongst searchers grow by 1.7% and its share of search results pages grow by 2%.

That’s according to comScore, which, like so many others, has been monitoring Bing’s debut.

In its release, comScore’s Mike Hurt commented:

So far it appears that the lifts in searcher penetration and engagement have
held relatively steady throughout the five-day period. The ultimate performance
of Bing depends on the extent to which it generates more trial through its
extensive launch campaign and whether it retains those trial users. It appears
it is off to a good start.

But Bing’s good start is perhaps best measured beyond the tangible metrics.

Yahoo’s CEO Carol Bartz has taken the time to diss Bing. When asked about a report that Bing had surpassed Yahoo in marketshare for a single day last week, she responded:

One day is one day. They didn’t beat us by much. It was one day. I think it’s gosh maybe it was in Omaha some place; It was some small area.

Denial? Perhaps. But Bartz isn’t alone. Google CEO Eric Schmidt has chimed in too. In an interview with Fox Business News, he stated that “I don’t think Bing’s arrival has changed what we’re doing” and had a response to Microsoft’s $100m ad campaign to promote Bing:

You don’t buy it with ads. You earn it. And you earn it customer by customer, search by search, answer by answer.

Frankly, I have no idea whether Bing is going to change the game for Microsoft in search. It appears to be off to a good start but it’s easy to sprint off the starting line; it’s much more difficult to stay in the marathon. As good as I’ve personally found Bing to be in my trials, I still, out of habit, head directly to Google when I need to search for something. That’s a habit that is going to be difficult for any company to change.

But I think the comments from the chiefs of Yahoo and Google are the best evidence that Microsoft is executing well with Bing early on. Given Yahoo’s position in the search market, Carol Bartz shouldn’t be dissing Bing. And even though Bing clearly isn’t anywhere near capable of dethroning Google anytime soon, Google shouldn’t be too dismissive either. After all Google’s arrogant attitude vis-à-vis Hulu turned out to be a real mistake, as Hulu has definitely made Google’s $1.65bn investment in YouTube look a bit more questionable.

In the end, Bartz may be right with her prediction that interest in Bing will be “temporary” but the fact that there’s interest at all should send a strong message to Yahoo and Google: consumers can be interested by new search products. Instead of talking down the new kid on the block, they might want to ask what they’re doing to innovate.

Photo credit: Diego_3336 via Flickr.