Some thoughts on Bing vs Google interfaces, etc... which seems to be the drift of the topic.
Agreed, Google is way too cluttered. "Visual noise"
scarcely scratches the surface. The interface is a nightmare. Depending on the speed of your connection, and probably on your graphics card, Instant is more than annoyance... it interferes with using the engine. I wonder how much stats are skewed by typos. Instant previews are ugly. I tune them out the way I tune out rich-media ads on article sites. The nagware aspects of Google are a complete 360 from simple "build-it-and-they-will-come" approach that made Google successful.
But, let's get real about a few things...
No ads at top or bottom of results
The number of ads displayed on either engine depends on the query (and on how recently you've repeated it). I tried a high volume, competitive phrase on both engines...
- On Bing I see five ads on top, five on the side, and two at bottom.
- the ads background is completely
invisible. The only way you can tell the ads have stopped is to note where the search suggestions start.
- if your query is a travel query, Bing has a flight booking form sitting up top of the organic results... That's another indication that the ads are about to stop.
- Bing has flight search linked to from its home page. Those beautiful travel photos on the front page, from day one, were designed to help sell travel on Bing.
- the most ads I've seen up top is four.
- the ads background is extremely faint, but it is visible, particularly if you're slightly off axis when you view your monitor. I am not talking about the axis of evil. YMMV. ;)
- on travel searches, I'm currently
not seeing flight search forms on Google, but they definitely come and go, as everything does these days on Google. You generally need to include a destinaton in your query for the booking forms to appear.
- Google has retained three columns, with search tools I find very useful on the left.
Bing has eliminated its left column and greatly increased the right margin... it can be argued thus moving the ads closer to the center, where they're more likely to be clicked. It does look better. I'm curious what the shift does to click-through rate. My guess is that it will be a lot more subtle than the dive organic took when Google redesigned its serps pages.
In general, also from day one, Bing's graphic design has been light years better than Google's. Google's site has been a visual and organizational abomination. Google has only recently tried to address those issues in its support pages, which are considerably better than they used to be.
Quality of search results is a whole other discussion. I'm rooting for Bing to get bigger, fresher, and to expand its index, as I really would like to see Google have substantial competition.
Now if they just buy the site explorer code from Yahoo
Yes, yes, yes!