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The times I've used Bing, it seems pretty good. But really how good is it?
For the entire month of December, I will do all my searching at Bing.
How will this change my search habits, and my experience of the web?
Will I find what I need to find?
Anyone want to join me for a month-long Bingathon?
This is NOT a sponsored endorsement of Bing. Honest. Microsoft does not own me
1) I did consider going "all the way" this month by weaning myself cold turkey from all Google products. AdSense, AdWords, Maps, Gmail, Chrome, etc. I did not. But wherever possible, I have been using alternative Bing products when they exist.
2) I haven't missed Google yet. Bing has been giving me the results I need. Admittedly I have not been doing much heavy research this month, and my searches have been mostly banal: shopping, or programming-related RTFM searches
3) Bing Maps is good too. Way better than MapPoint was a few years ago. I still like Google Maps a lot. As mentioned earlier, I am deeply disappointed in Bing's international business listings.
4) Bing's SERPs do tend to include obscure, bizarre findings. I just Binged myself and found a 404 page, indexed (maybe because it doesn't actually send a 404 header), for a page about me that has been offline for at least 10 years. Bing is finding things that Goog ignores. Perhaps because their algo isn't as mature, Bing is letting things be seen that Goog deems inconsequential. That isn't necessarily a bad thing; Bing is ranking things well enough so the weird stuff isn't top 10 of the SERPs.
5) It is refreshing to see different results for common searches. I have discovered sources that I didn't know about previously because Goog's results often felt homogenous.
6) I do really wish Bing didn't link to their cached page. This was a bad idea when Google did it, and Bing is just playing copycat. There may be a compelling case for exposing your cache to the user, but there are more compelling reasons not to IMHO.
7) Bing has a very good index of WebmasterWorld, with fresh posts appearing very quickly in their results. Makes me wonder how aggressively they are pounding the board with their bots. Are they making use of the site's RSS syndication to assist their crawling?
I like to use my site as a benchmark, especially since I have the the highest quality content on the web for a number of topics :)
The interesting thing is I rank high in a few categories with little SEO to justify the rank. This makes me suspect Google has a human review component. In Bing the ranking is in the toilet, but behind mostly crap web sites.
Another interesting thing, Bing contacted me asking if they could use some of my content in their visual search. I gave them permission and had a conversation with a real person. That contact and apparent human evaluation of my site did not result in any noticeable change to my ranking. My conclusion is their is no subjective human factor in their ranking algo.
Had Google presented me with this page, I would have had my answer but they did not. I got directories of links and snippets scraped from other sites. What a waste of time.
So far so good for Bing...
With Google Personalized Search now at play, maybe this will give Bing some breathing room to obtain a little more market share? I don't think so. Personalized Search is the next phase. Google defined search at launch in 1998 September and is now redefining it. Meanwhile, the others are left to serve up the same old results many of us have become accustomed to over the years. The old. The new. Resistance is futile.
I'm ready for a full time combined search interface with Google as the primary. Let me choose my top 3 resources and then give me those results side by side for comparison. Ya, that's what I'm going to do. :)
Bing's image search definitely has a more efficient display...not as pervasive, perhaps; but congruently, not as littered with junk. Bing's maps are far more up-to-date, at least for *my* neck of the woods.
So, bing it will be, for our household. (Dropped three personal gmail and four GAfYD accounts for clients, too... after reading along with the 4037372-1-10 thread here... using owned domain accounts instead.)
Really, all I ever used Google for was searching (websites, images, etc). And that's all I need Bing for. And on this point, I think Bing is at a level playing field. Certainly, if you do an A/B comparison, they aren't going to give you the same results. But that isn't the point. I find everything I need on Bing, so I am happily sticking with it.
And for my use, I think Bing is better. I enjoy seeing a new, different photo every single day on the homepage. They're usually interesting and always high quality. It is sort of refreshing to quickly learn or see something new/interesting every single day. Additionally, I think Bing's image search is now far superior to Google's. I always get generally good results with Bing, while I usually encounter irrelevant/SPAM images in Google (I'd say more so than Bing; though they are present in both).
Before Google, it was a challenge just to find something on the internet if you didn't know a site, an address, etc (remember those days when you'd use the search bar in IE5 and the results were hideously incorrect? lol). Google changed that. And because of that (and a number of other factors), Google became king. But A LOT of people (ie, non-technical users) who use Google for searching only use it because it works, they know it, and it is even "cool" (many of them, mind you, have probably never even used another search engine; there are a lot of internet users who are "post-Google", young & old). I think if these people were made aware of Bing and just tried it, they'd probably enjoy it just as much and switch. The problem is getting those people just to try it, and even just to be aware of it. I think if Microsoft can overcome that challenge, they could easily capture a huge market share from Google. Of course, it is not at all easy.
In the end, I hope Bing captures more market share, not to dominate... but to create a reasonable market of competitiveness.
I think if Microsoft can overcome that challenge, they could easily capture a huge market share from Google. Of course, it is not at all easy.
No, it isn't. Microsoft has spent huge amounts of money on advertising for Bing, and I haven't read anything to suggest that Bing has gained substantial market share.
Now for an interesting "what if" question:
What if Bing did surpass all expectations and start attracting huge numbers of users? Google has had years to perfect a worldwide network of data centers that respond to massive numbers of searches almost instantly. Is that something Bing could replicate easily? Which is harder: developing algorithms and filters to deliver acceptable seach results, or developing the infrastructure to handle a major influx of search traffic?
algo's and filters, much tougher to build I think. That takes more than money.
MS's decision to use marketing is a good idea. It's one way to potentially swing consumers - perhaps even a shortcut. I don't believe 'better search results' is going to be the Google killer. It'll be something else. Like maybe a catchy MS tune.
Bing-de-bing-de-bing-de-bing. It'll help you find, anything.
:). (not quitting day job).
But as one computer engineer once told me, there are always two solutions to performance problems. Either you optimize and streamline the proceses, or you just throw more hardware at it. Running slow? toss in a few hundred more CPUs, and a few terabytes of RAM. Voila! It's fast again!
As for the search results; it would appear that in my region (Netherlands) they are relatively sub-par. As much as I hate to confess, I've had to resort to Google every now and then to actually find what I was looking for.
It's all well and good to boycott a superior or inferior service for ideological reasons, but I would prefer to use the best service. How will I know which is which unless I do side by side searches.
My default search now is to blind search, which shows the big three in parallel columns in randomized order. I can look at the results and then pick which one I find best fits my search.
So, I'm predisposed to jump from Google for various reasons. But for my searches (and keep in mind this keeps Personalized search out of it), Google dominates and Bing is last.
I find that Google wins the majority of the edge cases where the SERPs are all pretty good, but one is clearly better (maybe 30%). Yahoo! wins the cases where two SERPs suck and one really stands out (maybe 10%). Bing only wins rarely (less than 5%). Over half, it isn't clear from the SERPS and even looking at the first results which is better. Often the top three results are identical and appropriate.
So much as I thought my default to Google was just habit, after a couple of months of "blind searching" I find that actually, Google simply provides better results *to me* in the majority of cases.
The owner of blind search also posted some results showing that over several months, Google was the winner. And I believe he's a MS employee!
Like that guy who ate nothing but fast food for a month. it's an experiment.
I'll post another update on Day 14
You know about how there are these expensive wine glasses designed for each wine and the wine tastes noticeably better if you use them. But in blind tests, there's no difference at all.
So trying any search engine with branding in place is going to skew your perceptions.
You can put Blind Search in your Firefox search box and see where it takes you.
Google dominates and Bing is last.Maybe for what your searching for. I dumped Google for many reasons and for what I search for, I've not had any problem at all finding what I need. In fact, for some of the stuff I search on Bing results are better than Googles. Does that mean Bing is better than Google? In my eyes it does and I won't switch back to Google.
That is what is going to matter, if people use Bing for whatever reason and find it just as good or better they won't switch back just because somebody else says Google is better.
With the threat of Google invading privacy whether real or not, it just might get people to try Bing and if they do, they may or may not keep using it.
Each person is different.
You use Google, I use Bing.
Life goes on.
Hey - send it to everyone - it's exactly how G started out and these results are better than theirs were when they first started!
Bing is just Microsoft's latest incarnation of its failed attempts at running a search engine, start page, portal or whatever you want to call it.
I'm not impressed by Bing, it's just typical MSFT repackaged product.
Yep, that's a lot of it. I search for a lot of really obscure stuff and for that, the size of the index does matter. This is content that doesn't change often and so the jump that Google has is still a big advantage.
But it surprised me. I've been grousing about Google a lot lately and was mildly disappointed to find I was often voting for Google, and that's why Blind Search was useful to me. Otherwise, I don't think I would be objective about it.
We're not here to say one SE is better than another. We wanted people to try out Bing and let us know what they think. How's your experience with Bing so far? What do you like? What don't you like?