Should You Bing In The New Year?
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.
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.
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...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 6 Jan 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Should You Bing In The New Year? (Posted: 6 Jan 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved