Tech

Smackdown: Google vs. Bing

Google vs Bing

When it comes to search engines, there is really no dispute about who is top dog. Google reigns supreme. One could even argue that other search engines have been rendered irrelevant because of Google’s large market share.  The name “Google” has even become a verb, and people use the brand  Google interchangeably with “search” the way that many call any first aid bandages Band Aids, any facial tissues Kleenex, and any soft drink a Coke.

Nevertheless, there have been and continue to be other players in the game, and while Google unquestionably sits atop the pile, other companies such as Yahoo! and Microsoft are constantly seeking ways to chip away at Google’s search enterprise.

Microsoft’s latest attempt is their new search engine simply called Bing.  When Google slipped past Yahoo! to take the searching lead, there were plenty of evaluations of the two. Google was simply better.  In fact, it revolutionized searching by producing more relevant results, more content, and easier functionality.

The purpose of this comparative evaluation is take an honest look at the quality and usability of both search engines and to document the positives and negatives of each.  In the first section, I will attempt to put my searching experience as a librarian aside and approach each website as an average user. In the second section, I will put both to the librarian’s test, using more advanced searching techniques.

Basic Usability

Usability evaluation looks at the number of clicks it takes to complete a task, the amount of time it takes to find the things one wants, and other similar factors. The following results are not based on actual scientific usability testing but on my own observations. Others may have a different experience, so I will try to explain my reasoning for whatever conclusions I make.

Load Time

Both Google.com and Bing.com have very simple websites that load almost instantly. Bing does load an image that takes slightly longer, but it is hardly a noticeable difference.

  • Google +1
  • Bing +1

Appearance

In a departure from Yahoo! and AOL’s style of presenting a directory and news on their front pages, Google and Bing both opt for mostly empty pages with single search boxes. The similarities in appearance, however, end there. Google has a plain white page with no images other than its logo. On the other hand, Bing has a different background image every time you visit. The Bing image is also interactive, containing several spots where the user can get mouseover popups and links. I found all of the Bing bling to be superfluous for my purpose, which is to search. Google +2

User Interface

Both sites allow users to have accounts so they can customize their experiences, but to be fair, I accessed both without logging into either.   Google has one search box and two buttons: Google Search and I’m Feeling Lucky. To the right is an Advanced Search link and Language Tools. The top includes links such as Images, Videos, etc.

Bing has one box and one button, which appears as an icon with a magnifying glass. One could argue the button is a more universal approach than having the actual word “Search”. On the left-hand side are the Images, Videos, etc. links. One of the links, absent from Google is “Visual Search“.

Neither interface seems to have any practical advantage over the other from a basic user’s perspective.

  • Google +1
  • Bing +1.

Searching

When I began typing my search word ants into Google, it brought up a menu offering suggested or popular search phrases containing the word “ants“.  Bing offered the same, but also has an option to turn the feature off right inside the menu.

When searching, both engines brought up Wikipedia as the very top result and also included image results of ants. In addition Google provided YouTube video results.  Bing did not. I turned off my ad blocker to see how the ads appeared. Google only had ads on the side, while Bing showed large text ads on the top and bottom as well. Interestingly, Bing, which claims to be simpler and less bloated, produced 104 million results in contrast with Google’s 14 million.

Where Bing differs dramatically is in its suggestions. Rather than accepting that I actually wanted to search for ants, it brought up a sidebar with the heading “Pants”, which included “images of pants”, “pants for women”, “pants for kids”, and so on.  The second search result after Wikipedia was plants.usda.gov, with the keyword PLANTS highlighted.  Two of the five top search results were plants instead of ants, and the remaining twelve results on the first page were all about pants.  All of Google’s search results and ads were actually about ants.  Google +2

Librarian’s Search

As a librarian, I would already be frustrated with Bing’s insistence on suggesting words for which I did not search.  It assumes the user makes obvious typos and does not realize it.  Bing’s “Related Searches” sidebar actually had more results for ants than the main search results.

In an effort to find ant colonies in America, I typed the following string into Google:  “ant colonies” america.  The first result was again Wikipedia, which is probably not the best source of information on ants, but still has some merit.  Other results seemed very relevant to the search terms.

Typing the same search into Bing actually produced almost identical results, which is a big departure from the basic search.  All of the strange suggestions were absent, indicating that Bing now viewed me as a whole competent human rather than a hapless dolt.

  • Google +1
  • Bing +1

Best Search Engine

There are many other tests I could run, but that would make this article unduly long.  Suffice it is to say that Google wins, and my rating system probably fails to adequately reflect just how insulting Bing’s suggestions were.  While Bing will certainly have its share of adopters, Google is safe for now.  Final Score:

  • Google 7
  • Bing 3

Tags: , , ,

Enjoyed this Post?

Subscribe to our RSS Feed, Follow us on Twitter or simply recommend us to friends and colleagues

Written by

I am a librarian with 8 years of experience in information architecture, technology, free and open source software, and electronic publishing. I have written hundreds of articles on topics ranging from information technology to politics. I also write fiction novels, short stories, and fables.

Hot at DirWell.com

Submit your Website

Discussion 8 Comments

  1. ted says:

    The search for ants on Bing is amazing. I have no idea how it helps a user to include pants and plants at any time in the results. Makes trusting your search difficult. Guess there weren't enough exterminator advertisers.

  2. Lucky says:

    Great comparison, but, bing is not bad as it's improving surprisingly well from the first day it's been launched…

  3. danielforer says:

    I did an “ants” search and only got ants results in bing. I did similar other searches & only got results for which I was searching. So maybe that has changed I the last few days. If MS picked up on this issue via forums & made adjustments, then that could be Bing +1 for paying attention to its users.

    Image Results: bing loses on web search as it places related image results at the bottom of the page. Google slots images results higher up in 3 result position. Google +1

    Related Searches: for the same reason of UI layout above, Bing wins on related searches. Bing places them on the left hand side near the top o fthe page. This is real help on refining your search. Google places them at the bottom of the page – which you always need to scroll to get to. I would say most overlook them anyway & re-type the search with some extra info. Nice way to drive up your number of searches but not a true reflection. Bing +1

    Result Preview: Bing provides a pop-out summary of result (i.e. a little more info than result description) and Google doesn't. This is quiet helpful in cases. Bing +1

    The two are very similar though Google still rules the market space. So I don't see that changing much, especially as I see search activity growing significantly as a result of smart phones adoption in the market an area that Google are obviously targetting effective with Andriod and related apps.

  4. Here elaborates the matter not only extensively but also detailly .I support the
    write's unique point.It is useful and benefit to your daily life.You can go those
    sits to know more relate things.They are strongly recommended by friends.Personally!
    http://you-rselfas.com/

  5. chanel says:

    It looks good,I have learn a recruit!
    Recently,I found an excellent online store, the http://www.chaneloutletstores.com are completely various, good quality and cheap price,it’s worth buying!
    write's unique point.It is useful and benefit to your daily life.You can go those chanel chanel outlet chanel store cheap chanel discount chanel chanel on sale chanel for sale chanel leather Chanel bags chanel handbags chanel purses chanel wallets chanel Luggage chanel travel bags chanel shoes chanel boots chanel Accessories chanel belts chanel jewelry chanel scarves Chanel glasses chanel sunglasses chanel clothing chanel dress chanel bikini thefer net Like-Acer tiny let-lands iamateacherithink
    sits to know more relate things.They are strongly recommended by friends.Personally
    I feel quite well.

  6. air jordan 3 says:

    The idea of friend upstairs is reasonable, maintaining a healthy body is very important, I bought a few pieces of XX particularly recently,it can help keep our body healthy, let us feel fit as a fiddle every day, I was alight it in this store!! http://www.canno-tmake.com/

  7. dunk shoes says:

    Hhe article's content rich variety which make us move for our mood after reading this article. surprise, here you will find what you want! Recently, I found some wedsites which commodity is colorful of fashion.
    http://www.inin-from.com

  8. Philip says:

    As for result, I think Google still gives better result than Bing.
    SEOP.com

Add Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>