Robert_Charlton - 11:48 am on Dec 5, 2011 (gmt 0)
I don't believe putting training wheels on the search box is helping.
Granted, auto-complete may not be helping for experienced searchers, and I find it distracting. It recently hit me that those "training wheels" are there for people with mobile devices that don't have great keyboards. That's my take on it, anyway. I've watched teenagers who basically grew up with auto-suggest search search on cheap phones, and it's a whole different animal. They can be very fast in navigating it.
Bing's auto-complete works much the same way as Google's, but it feels less intrusive to me... perhaps because on Bing I'm not dragging around a serp-page url that is growing exponentially longer as I search.
But for the kinds of things I search, Google... for me, at any rate... is miles ahead of Bing in digging out information and pages by quality, in part, I think, because Google does risk making mistakes in public... and it's making many more so, it seems, than Bing. This is likely to give Google more direct user feedback. That said, several years of fighting these auto-correct features has been driving me crazy, and Google has taken a while to catch on.
At the same time, now that we have Verbatim, which has been indispensible for certain searches, I'm surprised how little I've wanted to use it generally. I should add that with Verbatim on, I'm now seeing, in the #5 spot for our test query, a machine-spun spam page, stolen from this thread and not acknowledging it. It disappears with Verbatim off, which perhaps should tell us something.
I myself feel that Google is digging deeper, but I'm not really trying to push one engine over the other. I don't think that's the point of this forum or this discussion. I'm trying to use opportunities like this discussion to get more of a sense of what Google is looking at vs what Bing is looking at, to get a handle on where search is going. More and more, as time passes, it's not the old algo.