Bing vs. Google

The Bing folks launched their new bingiton challenge today. It’s an anonymized (well, almost) taste test of Google versus Bing for queries that you supply. The challenge is to try five queries, and see how often Bing beats Google.

My results from the Bing It On challenge. Google 3, Bing 2.

You can see what happened for me: Google 3, Bing 2. Bing claims this isn’t typical, I’ll let you try and it see if they’re right; they claim Bing beats Google 2:1 in their tests.

Here’s why Google and Bing won their respective queries for me:

  • Gold Base bobblehead. Google won this hands down, it’s all down to the first result. They show a definitive site with a list of the gold base baseball bobbleheads of the 1960s. Bing whiffs with two eBay links in positions one and two (much as a I love eBay, that isn’t what I’m looking for)
  • Hugh Williams. Come on, we all try looking for ourselves. Bing wins here, they have a link to my site as the first result, but it’s the presentation that makes it a winner — they include an image, a link to my LinkedIn page, and my email address all in a single result. Google whiffs with a link to the actor’s wikipedia page, and some much less attractive links to pages about me in their later results
  • Bobby Valentine. Was checking how fresh the indexes are, and it’s a dead heat — they’ve both got the latest news and great results. Google wins for a slightly more attractive presentation of the images throughout the page
  • Starbucks Sunnyvale. Let’s test who’s best at local queries. Again, it’s close to a dead heat — both do a great job presenting information about Starbucks locations in Sunnyvale in the first half of the page. What makes the difference is Google’s presentation of Yelp results that are visual and helped me choose a Starbucks, while Bing presented some fairly useless results in the lower half of the page. Minor victory to Google
  • The Shock of the Lightning Video. Let’s test who gets me to my multimedia best. Easy win here to Bing, their nice presentation of a strip of video results is a slam dunk winner over Google’s one row per video, YouTube-centric presentation

Google wins, but not by a huge margin. What’s not fair is that the Bing It On challenge takes the query-completing autosuggest feature out of play, and also Google’s instant search. Personalization also disappears, though that’s not a bad thing. The pages are also incomplete, so you can’t quite use search in the way you might. But, all up, it’s a reasonable way to compare the two.

What happens when you try it? Is it the Google habit for you, or are you thinking about a switch to Bing?

5 thoughts on “Bing vs. Google

  1. Ravi Aringunram

    Worked at Bing for long enough to be very familar with the presentaion of things like stock quotes (my answer 🙂 ), images, news etc. My vote was very biased. Fortunately or unfortunately my Bing habbit continues!

  2. jbtestpilot

    I liked this. Google won 4 out of 5, and the one Bing won was almost a toss-up. But the interesting part of this game for me (as a tester) was two-fold: 1) how we choose the search strings to test and 2) the criteria we use to judge which engine did it better. To me it’s a microcosm of two important skills testers must hone to reveal and report important bugs in software.

  3. Tarun

    As much as I wanted Bing to win, it was 3-1-1 in favor of Google :(. If anything, it seemed to me that the gap between Bing & Google has actually widened (both relevance & presentation) in the last two years.

    These were my queries –

    “python interface” Google (Google’s showed a thread from SO as its first result which was spot on in answering my intent behind those two words)

    “python module importing” Draw (Both were very average – none seemed to answer what I wanted – the “under the hoods” mechanics behind module importing)

    “python force pyc compilation”. Bing (While Bing was more relevant, the presentation for the SO result could have been a lot better. For starters, Google shows something like “4 answers – Dec 16, 2008” – which tells me a bit about the strength of that thread.)

    “python duck typing” Google (Both Bing and Google had similar results at algo-1 and algo-2. Algo-3 for Google was again a very relevant SO thread. Algo-4 for Bing was a weakly relevant SO thread.)

    cqf verus mfe Google (Even though both algo 1 and algo 2 are same, Deeplinks + result annotations make Google look a lot more relevant).

    Seems like Bing needs to work a bit on handling technical queries better.

  4. Bhupendra Jain

    My favorite query is flight search. Try “ua 237”. Google wins hands down both on presentation and level of detail on the search page.

  5. Ardent Logophile

    It was a draw in my case. Though Google became a habit, I will consciously try using both from now on! Competition is good! 🙂 And, thank you for the post!

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