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Google versus Bing - from someone who watches very closely
tedster




msg:3973109
 11:41 pm on Aug 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

There's a very interesting blog article comparing Google results to Bing results. We normally don't link to blog articles here, but this isn't just any old blog. It belongs to Tom Costello, CEO and founder of the Cuill search engine -- and husband to former Google engineer Anna Lynn Paterson (she's the one on Google's phrase-based indexing patents).

So this is a knowledgeable commentary from someone who sees a lot more data that most of us can even dream about. I've extracted four observations out of many, many more.

  • Bing had 2.9% spam, Google had 2.56% spam, while Yahoo had 4.9%
  • Bing prefers URL matches more
  • Bing seems to prefer pages where the term occurs with its first letter capitalized
  • Bing does less term-rewriting than Google.

Tom's Blog [cuil.com]

It's that last observation above that caught my eye the most. If Google is going to lose ground to Bing/Yahoo it will be in this area -- too much giving you what they THINK you mean instead of what you actually typed. We see related comments [webmasterworld.com] here quite often in recent times.

 

steveb




msg:3973851
 3:33 am on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

"Bing becoming a bigger player will better for everybody."

Um, no. Crappy search engines getting more market share is bad for webmasters with good websites, and good for webmasters with crappy websites.

IanKelley




msg:3973855
 3:50 am on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Does anyone else think it's interesting that the only way Cuil can get press at this point is by talking about Google and Bing? :-)

I just checked their results and those images... sorry dead horse.

That may be just correlation rather than causation. If the Bing algo is using keyword prominence as one scoring factor, then the highest prominence would be for the first word in a sentence or paragraph - hence it would most often be capitalized. So this could be a side effect, rather than a direct part of the algo.

Great point.

Regarding market share... With MS money behind it Bing is bound to get some of the market.

But ultimately Google is a household name, how many movies and TV shows mention Googling? I've lost count.

Search is no longer an industry where the geeks choose and the masses follow. So I'm not sure it matters how good Bing is/becomes, provided Google avoids being awful.

tangor




msg:3973863
 4:24 am on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Bing is a player at the moment. I personally like Bing results better. I see the same "spam" in both, which indicates both engines are doing deep searches on the net. Do suggest those entrenched in G's advertising model also invest in b's offering... or lose marketing potential. g is good, of course, but why put all your eggs in one basket?

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3973898
 6:28 am on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Devil's Advocate
----------------

Um, no. Crappy search engines getting more market share is bad for webmasters with good websites

But the point is that it is not a crappy search engine. This is a new search engine that produces results that are not radically different from Google and to most people as good as Google's.

But ultimately Google is a household name

So is Hoover but what is their share of the market now?

It's mainly younger people who make online things successful. If and when they decide that Bing is trendier than Google then they will use it and spread the word. That could be when "it happens".

Bing = Good results : Google = Good results.
Bing = New : Google = Old.

IanKelley




msg:3973913
 7:08 am on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

So is Hoover but what is their share of the market now?

I'm not sure a brick and mortar vacuum manufacturer that launched at the beginning of the 20th century is a fair comparison with an internet search engine in the 21st centry.

Also Google tells me (I should have used Bing but didn't think about until just now) that Hoover's market share didn't start really dropping until the 40's or 50's. So that's a prerty good run that contined into the 80's when they got bought out. 7 or 8 decades is an impossible to imagine amount of time in internet years.

Anyway sorry for the tangent. You definitely have a good point... Some day Bing could become trendy and seriously cut into Google's market. Right now, however, if it's Google versus Microsoft, Google gets the young vote.

MrSavage




msg:3973923
 7:32 am on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

The best thing for every webmaster (who wants to make money) should hope for Bing to register as competition. Right now, there isn't something close to being competition. Is it 90% Google in Canada? It's creepy in a way. No monopoly is good in any respect in any realm or any circumstance. I just can't grasp how anyone creating websites or selling online wouldn't want Bing to succeed.

Sounds like sour grapes about the weight being put into domain/url keywords. It's good for me. There needs to be a better balance obviously, but at the end of the day, it's a huge factor. It's only unfair to those people who over optimized for Google and undervalued using keywords in their domains. We could argue all day long about what websites deserve to be #1, #2, #3 etc. Perhaps you are of the mentality that if the top results show keywords in their domain, that somehow those website are crap, or spam or somehow not deserving. Perhaps you think that they got in their just because of having keywords. Stop. Think for a moment beyond the jealousy. You might be overlooking the fact that those sites are equally deserving to be at the top of the search results. Having keywords in a domain is spamming? If anything, it means in the near future, you may be asking yourself why you didn't buy those other domains that your competitor owns.

whitenight




msg:3973927
 7:51 am on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ian, You make some interesting points, and yet I come to completely different conclusions, ;)

Some day Bing could become trendy and seriously cut into Google's market. Right now, however, if it's Google versus Microsoft, Google gets the young vote.

Think many people in this thread think they are still "young".
We are, in fact, OLD in internet terms.

One is ANCIENT in internet terms if they are old enough to hold a guttural antipathy to Microsoft.

No one under the age of 25 knows about or has a deep hatred of "all things Gates".

So to them BING! (not microsoft) is new.
Like studded belts, tight jeans, and faux hawk haircuts are "new". ;)

Goog is now "my parents search engine" to the youth.

So that's a prerty good run that contined into the 80's when they got bought out. 7 or 8 decades is an impossible to imagine amount of time in internet years.

According to current time/space physic models, as of 1999 (with the creation of world wide web) time is now moving 20x faster.

So that makes Goog how old in internet terms?
Hmm, about as old as Hoover, or Ford, circa 1980s.

As someone said earlier, geeks no longer lead the masses in the SE industry.
Like every other industry, the innovator controls the market until it reaches a point where quantum leaps in innovation are no longer possible.

Competitors are then able to create a similar, not necessarily better, product that equalizes market share.

So in internet time, Google has had 60 years (3-4 years) of uninterrupted industry dominance with no new quantum leaps in innovation.

It shouldn't be surprising that an adequately funded competitor can create a SIMILAR product that steals market share away.

It happens in every industry.

Ironically, one might say that Goog is responsible for their own "untimely" demise.
how's that for geek humor? ;)

WebWalla




msg:3973947
 8:17 am on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

If you put your "exact phrase" in quotes Google returns results for the "exact phrase".

Google also provides "Did you mean" suggestions for "exact phrases" in quotes.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3973950
 8:27 am on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't know about the rest of the world but at least here in the UK the verb to "hoover" means to use a vacuum cleaner to clean the carpets. Most people do not even think of Hoover, the company, when referring to their machine by that name.

The point I was making was that it is not inconceivable that people could soon be using Bing to google something (lack of leading capital was intended). ;)

steveb




msg:3973955
 8:32 am on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

"This is a new search engine that produces results that are not radically different from Google and to most people as good as Google's."

On planet zoltan maybe.

Here on Earth people sampled Bing and then its markethsare went down. The idea it's results are comparable to google is lauaghable.

whitenight




msg:3973958
 8:39 am on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

On planet zoltan maybe.

Here on Earth people sampled Bing and then its markethsare went down. The idea it's results are comparable to google is lauaghable.

I'd say that is FALSE and easily disprovable information, but then again, i'm from zoltan.

Here on planet earth, we have the following report.

"Bing launched to the public on May 31, when Microsoft held 8.0% search marketshare. Over the course of June and July, the site has gained nearly a full percentage point ? it's up to 8.9%, and growth was actually higher for July than for June, when the site was getting all of its launch attention. Of course, Bing's marketshare still pales in comparison to Google's dominant 64.7%, but at least Microsoft is heading in the right direction." [washingtonpost.com]

[edited by: tedster at 7:38 pm (utc) on Aug. 18, 2009]

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3973985
 9:06 am on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

The idea it's results are comparable to google is lauaghable.

Perhaps I am just stupid then so have a laugh on me. :(
I, like many others, think that Bing's results are fine.

makemetop




msg:3974002
 9:52 am on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Well, despite personal opinions, what matters is the searches made by the average person. On a well known multi-national brand name in the "tech" space, Bing searches in June came to just over 28K, in July - just over 30K and so far this month a little over 20K - so the trend seems up. Of course, as pointed out elsewhere this compares with just over 300K searches from Google so far this month - but 10s of thousands of searches leading to clicks (and revenue producing actions) per month ain't shabby for one (admitedly huge) site - and they seem to be growing month on month.

Plus length of time on site is significantly higher from Bing searches intimating that the search results were pretty good for those using it.

Oh - for comparison - Cuil has given 1 search click-through so far this month!

Shaddows




msg:3974032
 10:41 am on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

people could soon be using Bing to google something

Very true. I hoover with my Dyson (also UK).

Any competitor, preferably several, is better than a monopoly- even if they are rubbish. And Bing is NOT rubbish.

MrSavage makes some excellent points. Being optimised for Google doesn't make it a good site. Its perfectly possible to have a great site that isn't Google-friendly. If Bing is using different criteria, thats fine. Webbies will then say "that site shouldn't be top"- but on what basis. "It's not like Google" just doesn't cut it. And using keyword-in-domain shows intent, at the very least. If the site is otherwise non-spammy, why not reward that focus?

...with no new quantum leaps in innovation

It shouldn't be surprising that an adequately funded competitor can create a SIMILAR product that steals market share away.

It happens in every industry.

Exactly. Superiority is not required, merely parity, funding and time. Sure, inertia is a factor, but so is novelty. For new searchers, only novelty applies. And since new searchers are primarily the youth of today, rebellion against the status quo will mean at least a few will try new things.

planet zoltan

I'm sure being a member of the dwindling population of Planet Ostrich will make you millions. Good Luck.

Gomvents




msg:3974100
 12:51 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Why are we listening to anyone from Cuil?

signor_john




msg:3974219
 2:59 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

"Bing launched to the public on May 31, when Microsoft held 8.0% search marketshare. Over the course of June and July, the site has gained nearly a full percentage point ? it's up to 8.9%, and growth was actually higher for July than for June, when the site was getting all of its launch attention. Of course, Bing's marketshare still pales in comparison to Google's dominant 64.7%, but at least Microsoft is heading in the right direction."

Stands to reason. Microsoft has been spending many millions of dollars to promote Bing, and anyone who's worked in advertising can tell you about the value of repeat impressions. (Microsoft knows that, too: I'm still getting Bing display ads on my site two and a half months after Bing was launched.)

Trouble is, if it's going to take 100 million dollars just to meet the top Microsoft search exec's stated goal of picking up a few percentage points of market share, what will it take for Bing to become a significant competitor to Google?

StoutFiles




msg:3974246
 3:34 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Some day Bing could become trendy and seriously cut into Google's market. Right now, however, if it's Google versus Microsoft, Google gets the young vote.

I don't think Bing wants the young vote...has anybody watched their commercials? Clearly they are advertising to adults who find the internet confusing. Adults have the credit cards...they just want them right now.

Why are we listening to anyone from Cuil?

Mentioning Google and Bing is the only way anyone from Cuil can be relevant again.

fashezee




msg:3974248
 3:37 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

More pipelines open in feeding traffic to your site is better. If your site is good, you should rank well for both. I dont think BING is serving up crappy sites. In having more pipelines, should an update occur that is not favorable on Google, atleast it wouldn't be a total panic.

Plus ~ isn't having a monopoly over a market bad?

MrSavage




msg:3974272
 4:05 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

What is most scary, is that the monopoly isn't over a product, it's a monopoly of the internet (which is everyone's fault, not the fault of Google) which is I think, the last place anyone would want to see a monopoly. The internet is supposed to be about freedom isn't it? When somebody can filter, funnel, alter, remove content, websites, information from the internet, then we are in big trouble. In a sense this is happening already, but most people don't realize it. Chine for example is the filter for that country. Do we want a filter for the internet covering the rest of the globe? If Bing goes bankrupt, then we have one choice. Take a moment to let that thought sink in. China, the government controls what people can or cannot see. In a sense, take Canada at 90% Google usage, they are controlling what we do or do not see. Again, it's no fault of Google for being so good, it's just that well, it's slightly disturbing to somebody like me.

signor_john




msg:3974278
 4:13 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Comparing Google to the Chinese government is quite a stretch, but in any case, Google wouldn't "own" the Internet if Bing went bankrupt (which is unlikely to happen, since Bing is owned by Microsoft). WIRED explains why:

[wired.com...]

SlyGuy




msg:3974331
 5:45 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Why are we listening to anyone from Cuil?

uh, because Tom Costello is an expert in the field of search technologies? Regardless of the success/failure of Cuil, I don't think that should impact his insight in the subject matter...

zett




msg:3974340
 5:56 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

If a single company (or rather: their staff) can de facto decide what is being found on the web and what not, that's a very dangerous situation. That is to be avoided at all cost. Having a number of equally strong competitors is a much better situation for the consumer. And for us as webmasters, too, because we still can get traffic and earn a living should Google decide to give us a -50, -500, -950, -5000 penalty. If they had less power, webmasters might just shrug and move on. It's just such a big issue today, because they have so much (i.e. too much) power.

If a single company can easily pull together an alomst seamless user profile of any web user, that's also a very dangerous situation. Think of the AOL data disaster a few years ago. And that was "just" a fairly large sample, and anonymized too. But it was (and still is!) scary to see what could be revealed from that data. Again, Google has way too much power here.

I love Bing, because it's fresh, and the results are OK. Funny name too. I promote Bing on our sites, and also with friends and family. More power for Bing, please.

maximillianos




msg:3974343
 6:02 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Great article and thread.

So this is a knowledgeable commentary from someone who sees a lot more data that most of us can even dream about.

According to Quantcast, Cuil maxed out around 87k visitors/month in the last 6 months. According to my records, they are seeing a lot LESS data than me... ;-)

zett




msg:3974361
 6:42 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Oh, and after reading the article earlier, I wondered indeed - why is Tom actually writing this article? Shouldn't he be writing about Cuil? Or even better - try to fix his "product"?

And then I noticed that Cuil is being monetized through *gulp* Adsense. A certain bias does not surprise me then.

IanKelley




msg:3974401
 7:33 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

One is ANCIENT in internet terms if they are old enough to hold a guttural antipathy to Microsoft.

On the contrary. From a young perspective, Microsoft makes the operating system you grew up with, the word processor you used to write papers in high school, etc... Exactly the sorts of things you rebel against at some point.

Which is why launching Bing and making at least a bit more separation between MSN and search was a great move by MS.

signor_john




msg:3974474
 9:06 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

It's mainly younger people who make online things successful. If and when they decide that Bing is trendier than Google then they will use it and spread the word. That could be when "it happens".

The young and trendies are more likely to get excited by social-networking search than by traditional search engines. Bing is merely a Royal Crown to Google's Coke, or a Hunt's Ketchup to Google's Heinz. It isn't hip or trendy; it's just a less popular version of the brand leader in different packaging.

willybfriendly




msg:3974487
 9:30 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Royal Crown

They still make that stuff? Or, are you dating yourself? I haven't seen an RC in probably 25 years.

Perhaps Bing is more like a Jones or Sobe? Both hold onto a niche, and seem to be growing...

@zett - agree completely about the danger of one company having so much influence (and ultimately, control) over the Internet. Competition in search can only be good.

whitenight




msg:3974506
 10:03 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Cain mentioned a 5 year "cushion" for Goog.

And before i've also thought 3-5 years as well, but that was before we learned about the Yahoo-Bing deal.

So with an immediate marketshare growth up to 30%, is this more serious for Goog than we thought?

With 1 in 3 eyeballs seeing Bing results
and from verified reports that people do INDEED like Bing,
could we be talking about a 60%-40% balance by this time next year?

Or could it even be 55%-45%?

How fast can Bing go from RC Cola (lol i like that reference) to Pepsi?

tedster




msg:3974508
 10:07 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Well said. We're almost all hoping for Pepsi, I think - except for the few who've never been burned by losing important Google traffic after they geared up to accomodate it.

Not that I trust Bing/Microsoft. The MS track record is one of very heavy-handed monetization. I hope they have more reserve with Bing.

steveb




msg:3974514
 10:18 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

"Bing's share rose to 9.21 percent in its first week of release and dropped two weeks later, before settling at 8.54 percent in the last week of June."

In July it went to 8.9.

On Zoltan maybe 8.9 > than 9.21, but not here on Earth, despite the endless and ludicrous cheerleading.

If Bing gets to 15%, then maybe it is worth talking about.

tedster




msg:3974516
 10:20 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

When Yahoo starts using Bing data, we'll see a lot more than 15% in one jump.

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