Should You Bing In The New Year?

Category: Search-Engines

Microsoft is making some harsh claims about Google, in the hope that you'll switch to their Bing search engine. But is Bing really better? Here's my take on the 'Google versus Bing' battle that's playing out in the media and online...

Is Bing Better than Google Search?

I try to avoid becoming complacent, or letting my suppliers become complacent. At the beginning of a new year, it's a good idea to go shopping for a new bank, insurance company, accountant, etc., just to compare what you have to what may have changed out there. I also occasionally force myself to shop for a new search engine, even though I’ve been perfectly satisfied with Google for years.

Of course, when shopping search engines one runs into Microsoft’s Bing almost immediately. Bing is the number two search engine with 18 per cent of user searches, while Google has 66 per cent. Also, Microsoft spends a lot of money to promote Bing, not only in advertising but in deals cut with the likes of Facebook, Craigslist, and other major services that use Bing as their default search engine.

Bing vs. Google

Despite trying harder, Bing remains frozen in the Number Two spot, so far behind Google it would be embarrassing if the other search engines were not so far behind Bing. Yahoo! was at 11 per cent as of November, 2013; Ask Network and AOL did not break 3 per cent. (If you want to explore other search alternatives, see my articles Google Search Alternatives and More Google Search Alternatives.)

But popularity does not equal superiority. When it comes to search, I want something that lets me find what I’m seeking easily and quickly. If I’m not exactly sure of what I’m seeking, I want suggestions from a search engine that knows what’s out there better than I do.

I also want an honest search engine: one that does not hide from me things it doesn’t want me to know and that delivers search results in an order intended to help me, not its ad revenues. So how do Bing and Google compare on these criteria?

The first thing I notice about Bing is that it’s distracting. Bing’s home page is very busy with pretty pictures, slideshows, and teasers attempting to get me to click on something that Bing wants to promote or sell. I don’t like that. I prefer Google’s clean, plain home page design with just one touch of whimsy, the daily doodle.

Bing’s search results are also overwrought, with too many images each worth 1,000 words. I want enough words to quickly tell whether I want to click on a link. I don’t need Bing’s attempt to cram half of a Web page into a vertical inch of search result summary.

Thanks For Trying...

And when it comes to helping me find what I want, I find that Bing tries too hard and too often gets it wrong. Bing will add words to search queries, “thinking” that it can divine what I really want. Google makes similar mistakes, but not as much as Bing does.

I'm not saying Bing is bad, because it does work well in most cases. When I search for "flights to miami", "weather in nyc", "dogs that don't shed", or "travel to costa rica" I get pretty much the same results (and often the same ads) from both Bing and Google.

I’m going to stick with Google for my search needs. Like many people, I’m a creature of habit who is most comfortable with the familiar. That could be a big part of my preference for Google, but there are objective differences between the two search engines that put Bing in second place, and nothing compelling enough to tempt me to switch.

"Do No Evil" versus "Tell Me No Lies"

There's another thing that's bothering me. Microsoft has been on a "Bash Google" campaign for over a year, which I find distasteful. It started with the "Bing it On" website, which shows search results from Bing and Google side by side, in a sort of blind taste test. Microsoft claims that after taking the Bing/Google test, that "millions of people" prefer Bing 2-to-1. But one researcher finds that claim rather suspect, and did his own study with strikingly different results.

There's also the "Scroogled" campaign, which implies that Google spies on users and sells their private data to evil corporations. Microsoft even sells mugs and t-shirts that say "Keep calm while we steal your data" -- next to a Google logo. I'm all for competition and capitalism, but this is just ugly, and false.

All of these Microsoft smear campaigns make me want to run into Google's money-stained arms, and beg them to take me back. See my related article Is Google's Privacy Policy Evil? for a more detailed discussion of this.

Have you tried both Bing and Google for search? Which do you like, or is it none of the above? Post your comment or question below...

 
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This article was posted by on 6 Jan 2014


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Most recent comments on "Should You Bing In The New Year?"

(See all 61 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Larry
07 Jan 2014

Surprise!!! Bob bashes a Microsoft product.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Here's another surprise... I did say some nice things about Windows 8.

"Once you get past the learning curve... you'll discover something nice ... Windows 8 actually has some compelling new features! ... it boots faster than Windows 7... Internet Explorer 10 and other built-in Windows apps are noticeably faster, too ... longer laptop battery life with Windows 8 ... quite a few security enhancements ... has integrated SkyDrive into Windows apps, so it works just like a local hard drive ..."

See http://askbobrankin.com/switching_to_windows_8_made_easier.html


Posted by:

Julie
07 Jan 2014

I have used Dogpile for years. It returns far fewer items than either Google or Bing, and the hits I get are far more relevant. I have even used Dogpile to do research for professional articles for my master's program. It doesn't clutter up the sides with ads that are "relevant" to me. It does have 5-10 ads at the top of the list, but the rest all applies to my search so it's easy to skip the ads.


Posted by:

greg
07 Jan 2014

I too find the smear campaign distasteful, and as the saying goes.. "once bitten..." Microsoft has no room to talk about taking data from the mass and doing any gov. agents bidding. Im sure most all internet co's will do that too, but - "if one lives in a glass house..."
In short I find MS to below par.
Google will remain my search engine.

Just my thoughts....


Posted by:

Susan H
07 Jan 2014

I would like to suggest Goodsearch.com. Yes, they use the 'regular' search engines to find things but they donate money for each search to the charity of your choice. If I have to support something, at least this one lets me choose where the money goes.


Posted by:

Tony
07 Jan 2014

Very true what you infer on how intentional fraudsters/spin doctors/posuers/misinformists/researchers can manipulate results of an inquiry to arrive at spurious and suspect results.

Advertising agencies, big pharma, and indeed highly qualified scientists have been doing this for yonks which brings to mind an old though penitent adage of Benjamin Franklin 'believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see (read)'


Posted by:

Whitney
07 Jan 2014

I had Google as my search engine and Bing literally kidnapped my searches despite my having Google listed as default. Bing was nowhere near as good as Google, giving me pages that were about 2/3 ads with a few topical listings at the bottom of the page. I finally had to get my IT Director stepson to block Bing completely and am fine with Google. Not perfect, but usually I get 3/4 page correct or rational topical answers and a few ads, instead of the reverse -- and usually I find what I want.


Posted by:

Georjina
07 Jan 2014

The mud slinging turned me off with MS and Bing. If it's a simple search for something generic I use Ixquick but then there are topic specific search engines and databases that fit my needs better.

At one time Bing was a fairly decent search engine for terms that Google didn't care to return. Now, it's a crap shoot with Google, even on safe mode and Bing is suffering from Micro-Weird-itis.


Posted by:

James
07 Jan 2014

Great informative article as usual Bob! Political issues aside, even though I use Google what I dislike enormously is that if you make a mistake and close a couple of screens and go into history to find them Google will never provide the last Google search result summary while Bing does. So its impossible for you to work of that summary again. Google will only provide a new blank search tab.


Posted by:

Paulette
07 Jan 2014

Microsoft is merely meeting kind with kind with its anti-Google advertising. As distasteful as Microsoft's advertising may be, I find Google as a corporate entity even more distasteful and avoid using Google for many of the same reasons I don't shop Walmart.


Posted by:

dave strain
07 Jan 2014

BING is crap it takes over my computer like a virus
every thing did BING kept butting in.i have now disabled internet explorer and changed to chrome all because of BING.i tried everything to get rid of bing nothing worked,BAD news from MS


Posted by:

Wynn Jones
07 Jan 2014

I prefer DuckDuckGo and have been using & teaching about it since your early article about it years ago. I occasionally use Google for technical computer help, i.e. how to replace a certain model computer motherboard. I look at the link & where it is going and rt.clk and open in a new tab to keep from losing the search page. Keeps the band width usage down somewhat.
I just don't like being tracked (nothing to hide) just don't like it.


Posted by:

Frank Starr
07 Jan 2014

I favor startpage.com and duckduckgo.com. Startpage funnels through Google, while blocking your data so it isn't fed to Google. I've noticed this pares Google's tendency to pitch its results to what its analyses show you prefer.
I think Lifehacker.com had an article where the author noticed different results when Googling a subject between himself and his friends.
This article: bit.ly/KAejs4 talks about Google mining advert info from your Gmail account, both your and received mail from your correspondents. Spikes one's paranoia, altho I still use Gmail :)


Posted by:

RandiO
08 Jan 2014

Back in the old days (of course, not as old as that Meineke muffler ad you referred to), Google would allow you to see 100 hits/page page (using the argument &num=100). Then, they made it so that you could only do so; if you were logged into gmail (via using 'Advanced Search'). Then, I think it just disappeared or I gave up attempting to see more than just 10 hits/page.
A Firefox (FF) user can customize the FF search field to utilize more than a single engine of user's desire. The FF search field also provides a preferences link called "Manage Search Engines", where a user can add more than just the few engines already discussed (158 pages of them). The link for "Get More Search Engines" (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/search/?atype=4) allows user to select a variety of different types of search engines (these are FF 'add-ons') that are subject based and/or from many different countries, etc. FF also provides another add-on that makes the search field auto-size itself (autosizer), so as to minimize that field from taking up too much room on right side of the address bar.
In addition, an FF user can further select to use some of the search engines (such as DuckDuckgo, or WolframAlpha) via https or SSL or 'clean w/no history'. In the case of Google, one FF add-on is for "Google No Porn". Additionally, the Google's "click thru" feature that its primary revenue generator, can be blocked within FF, using such add-ons as NoScript and AdBlock add-ons or using QuickJava add-on for the super paranoid (self included).


Posted by:

Jj
08 Jan 2014

Great new article, but statistically doesn't google return more relevant results and less virus pages?

And I've heard the first six results on google search results are sponsored. So if you type in plumber and your area, the ones who pay google are the ones who get noticed? Is this true?


Posted by:

jd
08 Jan 2014

I find the "cutting deals with Facebook and craigslist" to be the biggest reason to stay away from Bing.
I have begun to use Startpage more and more since I am tired of ads for six month old searches still following me around.
I will have to start looking at Dogpile and Duck duck go.
I have been reading your newsletter for years and have found that you can also learn a lot from the comments of others....your comment moderation policy keeps out all of the insults and name calling found in most comment pages.
JD


Posted by:

MacZad
08 Jan 2014

Years ago I switched from Google to Bing because Google was "second guessing" me. Example: Cluttering the results with hits including the word "report" when my search only included the word "repeat." Originally Bing did not do this but now their results also exhibit this undesired behavior.

A "Did you mean report?" question at the top of the search results would be fine but just assuming that users don't know how to spell gives us search results that are far from optimum.


Posted by:

Buffet
12 Jan 2014

re: Google spying

http://siliconangle.com/blog/2013/06/08/nsa-spying-denials-prove-that-google-is-truly-evil/

http://breaking-news-worldwidee.blogspot.com/2013/06/google-spying-on-people-with-cia-people.html

EDITOR'S NOTE: First link is interesting reading, but mostly speculation here. One could possibly infer that Google complied with lawful demands from the gov't to provide specific information. But that's far different than Google spying on users and selling their private data, which was your original claim. The second story is just a list of accusations with no sources at all.


Posted by:

Jim curtis
12 Jan 2014

I have been using Bing for some months now and love it,I have hundreds of pictures of wonderful things I will never see in the flesh.
I have also I used Google and admit it is very good but I will stick to Bing.


Posted by:

Karan
08 Dec 2016

A woman in a small private msg group posted this yesterday:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/04/google-democracy-truth-internet-search-facebook

and after reading it, I was a bit numb. Fake news is bad enough, but this - this is something out of a sci-fi movie or a Twilight Zone episode!

I came out here looking for information on Google search alternatives. Though with my Android phone, I am already seriously enmeshed in the world of Google. And your most recent article, http://askbobrankin.com/can_you_delete_yourself_from_the_internet.html, only magnifies for me the level of entanglement.

This article on Bing is almost two years old .. what's the current state of affairs on Bing and/or search engines in general??


Posted by:

Karan
08 Dec 2016

Oh, and just a note on Google vs Bing with regard to the negative auto filling outlined in the Guardian link above: When one enters "Are Jews ..", "Are Blacks .." or "Are Women .." into Bing's search field, one does NOT get the negative, fake news flood that comes up in Google. Just sayin' ..


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