SevenCubed - 3:58 pm on Sep 7, 2012 (gmt 0)
Being as vocal a critic about Google as I am there was no way I could pass this up. I took the taste test 10 times for a total of 50 search terms and it resulted in a disappointing dead-heat with 25 for each.
Here is the criteria I used:
1) - I have a large monitor set to high resolution and can get 7 or 8 results to show above the fold without any scrolling so I only evaluated by what I could see "as is where is".
2) - I REALLY put my personal preference for Bing aside and kept emotions in check.
3) - I used a variety of categories of search types.
4) - I used a variety of 1, 2, 3 word searches as well as long-tail.
5) - I didn't want any draws so when one did happen (and there were very close ones) I forced myself to dig deeper into descriptions to find a tie breaker.
6) - In most cases, surprisingly, I was not able to figure out which side was which but there were a few obvious ones. In those cases it took two hands and lots of determination to force the mouse to click the Google result if it was better.
Period 1 - Each team traded shot and goals and things were quite even.
Period 2 - The Google Grunts found their legs and began taking a commanding lead much to the dismay of the home team fans.
Period 3 - The Bing Battalion fought back hard when they brought the local hometown boys off the bench. Late in the period they tied the score.
Overtime - A draw.
1) - Both sites digressed to Wikipedia way too much. For me Wikipedia is like a 3rd search engine - I just go there automatically when I know they are likely to have the answer.
2) - Too often Google was trying to send me to sites selling things even though my intention wasn't "buy". It got ridiculous when both engines failed on an intangible obscure metaphysical search term but Google insisted that eBay had them in stock for real good prices.
3) - When my intention clearly was "in buy mode" Google won hands down but still tried to route me to national big brands rather than local major stores that I know would have them, and without fail tried to route me to American sources rather than Canadian ones where I am. (Although that may be because this game is being played through a proxy limiting their ability to sniff my location)?
4) - Google excelled in results for very obscure terms (except for one).
5) - Bing excelled in local search (the 3rd period).
6) - Bing excelled in differentiating between research vs intention to buy.
7) - Google provided the worst overall user experience especially for local search when instead of sending me to local business websites they instead listed about 3 or 4 yellow page type of directories. That is doubling my efforts when I have to go to them before eventually finding the business -- MAJOR FAIL ON USER EXPERIENCE. Interesting to note that each of those directories had AdSense ads running on them. I guess that doubles the chances of clicking on an ad instead of an organic result.
8) - Bing had better variety of relevant results which became a deciding factor when it was close.
9) - Bing, on average made better use of whitespace, squeezed more results into less space such as listing multiple YouTube video results horizontally whereas Google did it vertically.
10) - Of most interest to me was that when my search surrounded metaphysical spiritual experiences (based on symptoms) Google tried to send me to "authoritative medical" sites who with certainty proclaimed the assessment and potential cure whereas Bing offered more well rounded scientific results from a variety of sources and regions in a very non-judgmental manner -- KUDOS to Bing, I love you guys, unless you too eventually become a commercial search engine, in that case the love will be lost.
11) - The absolute worst FAIL on a single search term belonged to Bing -- wow it was bad, I had to do a double take and couldn't stop laughing.
12) - The absolute BEST result also belonged to Bing where I described (in long-tail) about a physical experience knowing where the root of it layed. I knew what result I needed to see and the ONLY result keyword that accurately applied to it was found in the 3rd result displayed by Bing and nowhere in Google even by scrolling to bottom of page -- again Googles results were along the line of it being an illness that needed to be cured.
I did this last night but waited until now to reflect on the experience because I was pondering why Google excelled in obscure terms. Then immediately waking this morning my first thought was there was no ad competition for those terms so they don't mind digging deep and displaying relevant terms? Who knows.
I haven't taken as much time to carefully assess this as I would normally and I know there are other points I could probably bring up but overall I have to say keep up the good work Bing and please don't sell yourselves out to consumerism. But Bing was definately not a 2:1 winner for me, maybe they are for more mainstream average users who don't assess with microscopes.