|A week with Bing|
Trying it out head to head
Inspired by Mack's brilliant A week without Microsoft Windows [webmasterworld.com], and the different experiences that Tangor and I have had of Bing [webmasterworld.com], I have decided to spend a week using Bing and reporting here on how things go. This is partly to force myself to record things consistently!
As WW rules prevent posting specifics, I will not describe the search specifics, I will describe searches in terms of vague categories. I will also exclude any searches related to SEO (e.g. checking how my sites are ranking etc.)
To start off here are my searches for today:
The name of a jewellery designer who is having an exhibition in my area:
1. Her Linkedin profile
2. The Linkedin profile on an intern with the same name
3. The Facebook profile of someone else with the same name.
3. and 4. IMDB pages on a actress with the same name
Her own site was at 8, one place behind her Facebook profile.
1. Her site
2. The site of a dancer with the same name. This is interesting because she does not put her surname on the site (and her forename is very common). I found her surname in link text to the site.
3. Her Twitter stream
4. Image results showing the dancer from 2
5. Video results showing various other people.
The next search was a financial/legal term that recently came up in a political discussion:
The first four results were identical on Google and Bing, with Wikipedia first on both. The most prominent difference was the Wikipedia "reference article" link on Bing.
The last for the day so far was a search related to a web framework I am using on a new site.
Please note I am counting Google's indented extra results from the same site.
1,2 & 3: pages from their wiki
3 & 4: archived mailing list discussions.
6 & 7: pages from their old wiki (hosted on another domain)
All but one of the first four places in the SERPS were mailing list archives. The next two were pages from their source repository, after that came a page from the old version of their wiki.
Neither Google or Bing gave me exactly what I wanted.
The last is tricky to describe without specifics. It was a software related term, that I wanted to check I was using correctly.
1. The site of the biggest name (AFAIK) offering this type of software as a service.
2. The second biggest ditto.
3. A PDF on an education website with a government technical evaluation of such software
4. A closely related Wikipedia page that mentions the term.
1. The Wikipedia page
2. Same as Google
3. A page from the same site as Google's 1., but for some reason an inner page (belongin to one user/client).
4. Similar to 3 on another site.
[edited by: coopster at 12:20 pm (utc) on Mar 25, 2010]
[edited by: mack at 1:46 pm (utc) on Mar 25, 2010]
[edit reason] fixed the second link [/edit]
Nice idea. I have been using Bing as my default search engine now for about six months and I think one of the reasons people may not like Bing at first is because it is different. Who really knows what a good results page should look like? We accept Google solution to this and treat anything different with suspicion.
To me the biggest difference between Google and Bing is the lack of directories in Bing. A good test search in my opinion is to search for your "Town/City name" and see what each engines comes up with. In Bing I see a lot of local sites, on Google I see a few local sites and about half of page one filled with directories "find hotels in [town name]" ect. I don't think these listings add any value to the serp.
OK, I did not post yesterday because I did not get much response, so I assumed no one was interested, now that Mack has commented, I have decided to continue.
In any case I did not do many relevant searches. I am working on re-doing a site, and did a whole bunch of SEO related queries (which I am not going to discuss here), and nothing else until I finishe work.
I searched for two schools in my areas by name. For this test I have been using the US versions of both search engines, so here was a Google opportunity to test how much difference the localised results made.
The name of the first school. It is actually a network of schools with schools in several towns in my region:
Google: 1. School network's main page 2. Indented result with info on their schools in different towns, 3. Wikipedia page on the school, 4. Wikipedia page with a list of schools in the country, 5. A Google map showing the location of the school they have in my town 6. A review of the school on a site for expats.
Coutnry specific Google gave identical results
Given that I know my ISP switches IPs too much for my IP to give away my town, it appears that result 5 was influenced by previous SEO related searches with the town name in it. I was not logged in to Google!
Bing: 1. Same as Google 2.Wikipedia (Google 3), 3. event with a similar name, 4. university with a similar name, 5. a local government schools page from a place with a similar name
If you want more than just to find the school site, its the top result for both, if you want more, then the Google results are more useful.
I then tried the name of another school. It has recently changed its name slightly (dropping one word) in the wake of (financial) problems that nearly lead to it closing down. I first tried the old name.
1. and 2. Facebook pages connected to the school
3. Listing in a directory of schools (not a web directory, a web version of a book).
4. and 5. News stories about the change of ownership and name.
Localised Google was the same, except the directory listing (3) disappeared.
1. Expired web site in old name
2. New website, consisting of under construction page
3. Page about the school in a different directory. Looks more like a web directory, but one that actually looked a bit useful.
4. List of schools from Wikipedia
5. and 6. the same news stories as Google
Bing does not provide localisation for my country.
Localised results were almost identical. Searching using the new name caused the localised Google to find the "under construction" site, but made no other difference. It also caused the "under construction" site to disappear from Bing,
I am not sure which set of results I prefer. Google had more immediately useful information, but Bing did explain why I could not find their own site for the new name - it found the expired site, and the "under construction" site, so it was obvious what had happened.
My first search for today was the name of a web service I read an unlinked mention of. Results were:
1. The site the service is on
2. Their "about us" page
4. News results on a recent competitive threat.
1. same as Google
3. A news story on an award won by the service
4. Their "product" page
Both gave me what I wanted, but I found the news results from Google interesting.
Bing had yet another "reference article" link to Wikipedia, as it did for one of the schools I searched for yesterday. OK rank Wikipedia high, but do you need to link to the same page twice for half the searches I do.
I think the one big area where Bing lags a little bit behind is fresh results, and you hinted to this by mentioning news.
I tries similar searches to the ones you mentioned and my findings where much the same. Both do tend to return pretty much the same, but I have to admit I prefer how Bing displays them.
I searched for my old school...
1,) A directory offering contact information (fail)
indent.) Same site offering a map (fail)
2.) A local education site .gov.uk with info about the school.
Go to top local listings for primary school near [town]
1.) A local education site .gov.uk with info about the school.
2.) A reviews site
I think Bing method of display makes a lot more sense. Why have some listings then show a map. Keep it to the top then it is clearly seen as a useful tool, not clutter within the serp.
Of course I had to try my old school (in the UK, and much better known than the schools I tried earlier):
1) Google map
2) Home page of the school's site
3) Page on the Junior School
4) Another British School with the same name
5) Wikipedia page on the school
1) School' site as Google's 2)
2) A US university with a similar (not identical) name
4) Another minor US university with a similar name
5) A British University with an actual connection with the school (this was at 6 in Google)
I prefer Bing's presentation in not putting the map at the top, but Google provided more relevant results.
The other search I did today (I have picked a time when my search volumes are very low for this, fortunately), was trying to work back from a meaning to a word. Bing did better on this, but left me in some doubt about whether I had found the right word. Neither did particularly well when I tried to look it up to check. There are times when what you need is a nice printed OED!
Great topic. You stole my thunder, because I've started on a "Year With Bing" post. On June 1, it will be one year since I switched my default search to Bing.
Off the cuff:
- I revert to Google or yahoo about 15-20% of the time. When I am shopping, I find Google better.
- Maps, Google still wins on usability points.
- Farecast rocks - bing should be quite proud. Google has no answer.
- Mobile - I'm liking bing on the iPhone.
As Brett mentioned, Bing is good on mobile. My Android phone is pretty much married to Google search, but I still prefere Bing for layout and usability. On a mobile display these items are key aspects of the user experience.
|I revert to Google or yahoo about 15-20% of the time. When I am shopping, I find Google better. |
Very interesting given that MS seems to be emphasising shopping (the two recent interviews in eweek will link if I find them again) - too much attention to revenue undermining quality perhaps. One comment I will make is that, using Google by default I try Bing or Yahoo (I prefer the latter, as its more different from Google) much less often.
My big search for today was a question a legal question. Although I searched on the US sites as usual for this week, I was actually interested in the law here, which is historically based on UK law and very similar. Furthermore, given jurisdiction shopping, British law is important (not in my case, but certainly to a lot of people doing this search). My search was phrased as a question
Google results were excellent. results position one, two and four were sites with clear explanations of both US and UK law. The next five were less relevant, but at least marginally interesting.
1) A reprint of a 100 year old (yes, really) article on a religious site. Its a site I have seen before (and always thought got too high a rank), ranking for an article that been posted along with a lot of other stuff because it was there.
2) The site ranked 1) in Google
3) A page on a .edu site on a related, but distinct issue. Possibly interesting, but not what I wanted to know.
4) An answers.com search page
5) An Australian government site. The page it linked to was not useful but there was a link to a page that was useful, but not as clear on my question
adding what I thought was a helpful adjective degraded the results from both SEs to uselessness. Phrasing as a question by adding the word "is" had no effect on Bing, but made the Google results slightly worse.
Clearest win so far for Google, and on something that could matter.
I think both of the search engines pretty much prove what we already know. A machine simply can't understand what a query "really" means. Sure they can break it down into its steams, work out what other words mean the same and display results. But when you ask a question it really doesn't appear to be handled any differently.
When ever I have a query that is effectively a question, I put it in quotes.
"What is the capitol of Australia"
By doing this I can be pretty assured that the SE will return a page that contains exactly that term. If it does then it will usually contain the answer.
For those of you curious the capitol of Australia is "A" :)
Bing is my default these days. graeme_p and I have different results on some things, but I appreciate the effort made to look at both engines with an open eye. My time and experience go back to altavista and hotbot and all those original directories and tried them all, including google. Hodge podge results is what we get these days because there is so much krap out there fiddling around with keywords and ads and all that other stuff. Results of searches rarely tend to achieve the searcher's expectations. That's the downside of monetizing the web. I like deep results rather than surface. When the term I search is really important I use ALL OF THEM (ie. I would not trust just one SE for the result, just as I would not trust one library or even one book), but these days Bing seems to give me what I want first time around...and suggests more if I want to go that deep.
I give a thumbs up to anyone "googlized" making the "bingo" effort. Both are capable search engines. Yahoo, too.
I haven't documented *specific* type results over a period, as you folks have. But I've been binging for about 3 months now, since the possibility was first suggested here. (Using qrobe.it for images.) Results quite efficient; maps far superior.
I have been using Bing solidly since ~July 2009. I have been very happy! :)
To be honest, I decided to try it out because it was new and thought it was worth checking out. I immediately liked it just for the way it looks. Everything is neat and well designed and I really do enjoy seeing the new images on Bing's homepage everytime I open my browser (I set it to my homepage as well). So really, what got me to switch was mostly aesthetics.
But what got me to stay was a good experience. I have been able to find what I'm looking for with Bing with almost every search without issue. This is important. Yes, I get a similar experience with Google... but when you consider the results are usually about the same, I end up preferring Bing for its other qualities (design). I have not switched back to Google and do not plan to. When I can't find something on Bing, I usually can't find it on Google either (usually obscure academia or engineering topics that aren't easy to find websites for lol). Whether a result is #1, #2, #3, etc isn't that important to me (personally)... when I do a search, I quickly scan the whole first page by the page title and proceed to open each relevant result in a new tab, and then I examine each tab. Most people I know (teens to 20's in age) tend to scan the first page and click the link that looks the most relevant, even if it is #4 [etc]. So to me, whether Google's #1 and Bing's #1 match/identical is irrelevant, as long as the overall results are good.
The one big PLUS I give to Bing over Google is Bing's image search. I enjoy it many times over Google's. One big MINUS I give to Bing is its news section --- not that great in my opinion. Not in a "the news is not updated" sense, but in a "there's not enough articles to read" sense; and because I believe its design is bad.
I've been actively on the internet since 1999 (yeah, some have been on longer, I was 12 then, but I'm only 23 now). I remember the days when searching the internet meant hitting "search" in IE and the results SUCKED. AltaVista and all the other engines also mostly sucked. By early 2000's I regularly used Google because its searches were good/relevant... when few people knew what Google was, I had a "search the web, powered by google" search box on my personal websites. Google clearly won its dominance because it was (is) the best. I welcome Bing because it performs just as well (in my opinion) while also looking good. lol
I only did one search on the last day of my week Iyesterday) (excluding SEO ones) and that was a search for how to apply a web standard in a particular (very narrow) context.
Essentially it was a very niche search and Google found three relevant results, one relevant if you used a particular CMS, and the rest irrelevant.
Bing found one relevant, the one relevant if you used a particular CMS, and the rest irrelevant.
The irrelevant ones were the type that happen to have the same words on the page, but not connected.
Bing did put the most useful results first, whereas Google put it second.
A quick summary of the week.
Bing produces similar results to Google, but the end result was much the same as when I used Blind search for a few days just after Bing launched.
Most of the time the results are similar, but Google handles phrases and ambiguous wording much better. Google seem to analyse phrases, whereas Bing seems to look at a phrase as a list of keywords. The results for the search for my school were an example of it, but I could see it right along.
The two are the same most of the time, but Google is better some of the time, Bing is rarely better. Google will remain my default.
I've been using Bing for a while now, and I like the results. I've found sites listed for topics of interest to me that are nowhere to be found on Google. I don't know why they're AWOL or buried in the SERPs on Google, but they are. I haven't seen anything on those sites that would lead me to believe they were not quality sites.
Bing seems fresher to me than Google. I've found new pages on sites, then searched for them by page title in Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Yahoo seems to list them first, followed by Bing and then (sometimes) by Google. Quite often, it takes over 4 weeks for these new pages to show up in Google. I've noticed that with my site as well, Google is slow to get new pages listed, way behind Yahoo and Bing.
Bing has been fun, and I'm enjoying visiting sites I would have never found on Google. Google seems quirky to me now.
Bing seems fresher to me than Google. I've found new pages on sites, then searched for them by page title in Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
with google no matter what you search you know you'll always get, something leading you to wikipedia, something leading you to youtube, and a bunch of google images.
|with google no matter what you search you know you'll always get,something leading you to wikipedia |
My experience was that this is as true for Bing as for Google, and that is without taking the extra reference article link to Wikipedia that Bing usually has.
|something leading you to youtube |
Not true in my experience. Video search results come up reasonably often and are Youtube dominated.
Usually true, but I do not actually mind that too much.
I made the switch to Bing in October 2009 and made it my default homepage as well.
I'm rather happy with the quality of sites and results it displays and I prefer the image search on Bing as compared to Google.
I think I will keep using Bing for the rest of the year with the odd search here and there on Google.
Although i'm a huge Google fan, i have been a bit frustrated with some of the results from Google lately. I have tried Bing in the past, but always ended up back at Google. I understand that Bing has recently improved their search results with content from Yahoo, blogs and some other complicated methods of integrating more updated social media. Well i used Google last night, received horrible results including many websites with spyware and never found what i needed. After over an hour of my time was wasted i gave Bing another shot... I found not only exactly what i needed, but content that was helpfull and very usefull. I performed several other test, including the Bing video search feature.
Bing blew Google away for me on May 22 2010. For now i have made Bing my default search engine.
I've been a Binger for many months... still check G from time to time and seeing a downhill trend, but in this case it might be the new rollout of encrypted search.
I'm currently using Bing on one machine, Yahoo on another, and Google on none.
This started out as an experiment which could be titled "Living without Google... or trying". The only thing Google I'm currently not trying to do away with is the Adsense ads that generate part of my daily bread (and that's only because I have no real alternative to those). However, trying to avoid "calling home" to Google and still using the internet is pretty hard - even a local ISP homepage can't be used without calling "googleapis.com" - anyway, that should be the topic of another post.
As for Bing I think results are pretty darn good, spam-free and on-topic. OTOH, there are not as many results from niche searches as with Google or Yahoo.
Only thing I think is a bit annoying is the sensitivity to spelling. Make a typo and often on Bing you get zero results. However, make a real query with a term that looks like a typo for something else, and Bing mixes up the results with the "something else term" and the term you really wanted. So, you have to repeat the search without the unwanted term that you didn't even type in in the first place... a bit stupid, I think.
I am *very* pleased with the lack of clutter in Bing SERPS. No videos, images, froogle, maps, all that jazz. Just SERPS. It's a huge time-saver.
I have been using Bing for 6 days as my default and i'm still happy with what i'm getting.
I peek back at Google every so often to compare results or see something i'm missing or maybe the fear that the sky will fall if i stop using Google.
I like like Google as a company and hope they continue, but i get a little leary when one company has so much control or let's say influence on the operation of the internet.
I'm in the USA, and use Firefox and auto clean out my browser whenever i close it.
When I visit Bing, it gives me mostly UK serps and ads.
I find the link on the bottom left and go to the United States pages (then all is fine).
I'm in Florida and my road runner IP from my office internet access comes up as either Virginia or Kansas usually.
Anyone else seeing issues with Bing geo-locating you?