Are Bing’s Results Better Than Google’s?

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Are Bing’s Results Better Than Google’s?
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Does Bing deliver better search results than Google? Bing thinks so, and has launched a campaign trying to convince people that it’s right. It’s called “Bing It On,” and in addition to television ads, it includes the site BingItOn.com, where Microsoft is encouraging users to take its version of the Pepsi challenge – a blind comparison test between Bing results and Google results for whatever queries you wish to try out.

Which search engine’s results do you prefer: Google’s or Bing’s? Let us know in the comments.

According to Bing, people “chose Bing web search results over Google nearly 2 to 1.” Notice they said “Bing Web search results over Google,” rather than just “Bing over Google”. More on that later.

Also notice, they said “chose,” and not “choose.” That’s because this is based on a study Microsoft commissioned, and may not reflect the results from users using BingItOn.com (although I’d be very interested to see how it turns out once they’re done with the campaign. Maybe they’ll show us that later).

A Bing spokesperson told WebProNews in an email, “Although most people identify themselves as Google searchers, an independent study commissioned by Microsoft Corp. shows people chose Bing Web search results over Google nearly 2-to-1 in blind comparison tests. Given those findings, Bing decided it is time to let people see for themselves that there is a better option in search.”

Bing sheds a little more light on the study in a blog post. “How was the test conducted?” the Bing team says. “An independent research company, Answers Research based in San Diego, CA, conducted a study using a representative online sample of nearly 1000 people, ages 18 and older from across the US. The participants were chosen from a random survey panel and were required to have used a major search engine in the past month. Participants were not aware that Microsoft was involved.”

“When the results were tallied, the outcome was clear – people chose Bing web search results over Google nearly 2:1 in the blind comparison tests,” the team says. “Specifically, of the nearly 1000 participants: 57.4% chose Bing more often, 30.2% chose Google more often; 12.4 % resulted in a draw.”

Bing also notes that the “overall sampling error rate for the study is +/- 3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.”

The following video shows Bing taking it to the streets, betting people an Xbox 360 that they’ll like Bing better than Google. Of course, in the video, everyone loves Bing.

“When we previewed our side-by-side test results with people outside the company, I was often asked how we were able to make these gains with presumably less data than the other guys,” said Dr. Harry Shum, Corporate Vice President, Bing R&D in a blog post. “While there are too many variables to give a fully scientific explanation, I would say our long-term commitment and investment in machine learning for relevance has enabled us to steadily scale out relevance experimentation and make rapid progress.”

“Of course, as we all know, relevance is subjective and queries are dynamic and always changing. But we feel confident that it’s time for customers to come give us a look, and for a conversation on searching quality to occur in our industry.”

The Bing It On challenge, while very much a way for Bing to try and lure users away from Google, was also an opportunity for Bing to talk up some of the back-end tweaks it has made, much of this through extensive experimentation.

“Relevance experimentation at Bing involves training machine-learned models on large amount of training data using thousands of features,” Shum wrote. “In the early years, our models were based on neural networks. But as the amount of training data, number of features and the complexity of our models increased, the inner loop of experimentation slowed down significantly. At one point, it took us several days to finish just one experiment end-to-end. We knew we needed to do something.”

“To overcome this challenge, we turned to our deep partnership with MSR to develop a technology we call Fastrank,” he added. “FastRank is based on boosted decision trees which are much faster to train and thus attractive for relevance experimentation.. But there was skepticism on whether the quality of ranking produced by decision trees could match that of neural networks. Our colleagues at MSR took on this hard problem and developed new optimization algorithms that allowed us to not only match the quality of neural nets, but also train more than an order of magnitude faster.”

Google seems to think it is lending Bing some help as well. Google’s Matt Cutts said in a Hacker News thread, “Last time I checked, it looked like Bing was still using clicks on Google search results as a signal in Bing’s rankings.”

More on all of that here, but basically Cutts is referring to a big search industry story from 2011, when Google set up a sting operation to show that Bing was drawing from its search results. It appeared that Bing was using Google user search queries, gaining access to user data via an Internet Explorer setting.

But even still, that would only be one signal, and Bing claims to use thousands of them, compared to Google’s regularly referenced “over 200″. Bing may be using a lot more signals, including one from the world’s most popular search engine, but does it really translate to better search results?

Cutts also pointed out that the BingItOn tool struggled with a query for “bingiton”. Google did a better job of delivering results for Bing’s new tool than Bing did. I replicated the query personally, and was greeted with a similar result. Bing was showing stuff for the cheerleading “Bring It On” over Bing It On results, and Google was showing Bing It On at the top.

Some readers, however, say they were getting Bing It On at the top for both search engines, so some personalization signals may have come into play, although I can’t honestly understand why Bing would tailor “Bring It On” results to me, especially given that I’ve been covering Bing since it launched (I have no recollection of ever searching for this movie).

But, as embarrassing as it might be for Bing to show how Google is better at delivering results for a tool that Bing created to show how much better Bing results are than Google’s, this is still just one query, and the truth is that it doesn’t really prove very much. Anyone can easily find an example of Google providing a less than perfect results page.

The truth is that no matter how many queries you perform, Google is going to win on some of them, and Bing is going to win on some of them.

What do users think? The Twitter reaction is interesting. Here’s a sample:


This one represents a significant obstacle Bing faces, regardless of search quality:

This kind of mentality leaves one to ponder just how much the general population really cares about which one is technically providing better results more of the time. Of course, this has been part of the discussion since Bing launched. Even if it can deliver better results, most Google users are probably happy enough with Google, and simply aren’t looking for an alternative.

As far as the Bing It On tool goes, you have to consider that this is not really an accurate portrayal of the search experience on either Google or Bing. Bing says right on the site, “Based on a comparison of web search results pane only; excludes ads, Bing’s Snapshot and Social Search panes and Google’s Knowledge Graph.”

The Knowledge Graph is one of the offerings Google is prouder of than anything. Since launch, the company has taken just about every opportunity possible to talk about how revolutionary it is, and what a major step forward in search it is. Bing usually touts its social search features with similar enthusiasm. It strips out the search filtering options, personalization features, and the user interface entirely. There is more to the search experience than what is presented by Bing It On.

Then there are the home pages. People love Google doodles, for example. Some love Bing’s daily photos. Some like the way Bing does image search or videos. There’s also the fact that people use other products from these companies. Google users are often signed in, and can easily navigate around the various services they use from one unified navigational experience. Search is just a feature of the Google experience.

The point is, it’s not just about the “ten blue links,” which ironically, is a point that Bing has made in the past.

So, moving beyond the results as Bing is presenting in the Bing It On challenge, which search engine offers the better all-around user experience? Which one does have the better results? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Are Bing’s Results Better Than Google’s?
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  • http://coxy.me.uk coxy

    I use Bing anyway, for other reasons… but I gave bingiton.com a shot and my results showed I preferred Bing results 4/5 times.

  • http://ebook-site.com Bryan

    Google has lost its “search” monopoly. No matter what you prefer, it’s good to get a choice.

  • steve

    I used to use Google almost exclusively until this last spring when Google did their penguin and panda updates that knocked some of the best websites off their search engines. Now Giggle has a bunch of garbage instead of search results. My two thumbs go up to Bing which I now use exclusively. I also, use Bing to for all of my website advertising now since I found out that my Google ads (same ones as on Bing) were actually getting me high hits but poor results. I had to spend $500 a month on Googel to get eh same results as I get on Bing for $100 per month. That’s a lot of extra cash for no results. In my book Google has now become Giggles and a loser.

  • James

    Bing is definitely a better search engine. I think they have better algorithms for better results. For instance I do a lot in the wholesale business and have no problems finding things in Bing. Google doesn’t know the difference between wholesale and retail most of the time and ignores the word “wholesale” in my search – at least it seems so becasue the results they present are mostly retail.

  • Cynthia

    Bing is the better of the two. I used to use Google because it was the cool thing to do. Everyone was Goggling. Today it’s a Bing Thing because Bing is better and gives better result. Everyone should switch over to Bing for a week and try it to see the difference. Use caution however because you may never go back to Googel or as one person commented the Giggle Bot.

  • Janet

    Bing is best. Then comes Google and Yahoo.

  • Winston

    Did you know that you can set Bing as your default on Internet explorer in the upper right hand corner of the browser. Use the drop down under the X and Click on Bing. You can also find over 120 other search engines in the same location if you click “Find more providers.”

  • Zane

    Hey folks knock it off. Google is still the best. Besides I own stock in Google.

    • http://www.Jemsu.com Brandon

      Sell, sell, sell! IOS 6 likely won’t help you out much either with those stocks :-/

  • Toni

    Does Bing deliver better search results than Google? www.BingItOn.com YES!

  • Bob

    now bing better, but what them will do if will have similar traffic as google now? bing black&white pets?

  • Dionisios

    Google is the best. Television ads no helps you become better…

  • http://socialnetworkingbusinessplan.com Barry

    I have been getting higher quality TRAFFIC (the other end of search) from bing and yahoo. In competitive niches google’s results will always be worse because blackhats specifically game googles algorithm.

  • http://www.dexeter.net Ray

    Lately Google just give me the big corporate sites or Wikipedia. This year their search results have been going downhill as far as relevance to me is concerned.
    I am surprised that IMers have not been promoting Bing before now as having Bing with a bigger market share has to be in their interests by reducing Googles power over their businesses.
    Competition is the lifeblood of a market economy Bing It On!
    I would like to see 3 search engines with about 30% of the market each with the rest for specialist search engines.

  • http://N/A mark

    Ive spent a few hours looking and comparing results from the two, and I would say bing results have improved a lot recently, and with google results getting worse and worse recently, especially in the past 6 to 9 months, I think the results from bing are generally better now. Google seems to be messing up their search results by putting emphasis on removing decent websites from their results.

  • https://plus.google.com/101483129866912784818/about Peter Watson

    Bing has definitely come a long way in recent times and for me personally Bing result currently are much better than Google’s.

    I think Penguin has a lot to do with this because it penalized sites with inorganic links.

    So, many sites that were the most relevant, related, targeted and provided the best content, services or products for a particular search term were penalized, de-indexed or kicked out of the top 200 results purely because of inorganic links and were subsequently replaced in the serps with less quality sites.

  • http://www.cordycepsreishiextracts.com Kent

    I have for years considered the search results on Yahoo! to be significantly more relevant to the query than the search results on Google. And that’s in spite of the fact that my own site always ranked better on Google. Bing/MSN used to come third, in my estimation.

    In the past year, however, a lot has changed. Everybody I talk to – lay people, not computer geeks – seem to agree that Google’s Penguin update – although lay people don’t know this terminology – has made Google worse, not better. And Bing has been improving, I have no doubt.

    So at this point, I’m not sure where my past long term ranking of the search engines – first Yahoo!, then Google, then Bing – stands.

  • http://seolondonservices.co.uk Joe

    Google has without doubt lost the plot, although the other SE’s have a lot of ground to make up

  • http://www.itrustgodonly.com John

    I’ve been using Bing for a long time to do my searches. I find that Bind delivers much more relevant content than Google ever will. Page for page, for me, Bing wins hands down.

  • http://www.makerfurnitureplans.com Brian

    Personally I’m up to my neck with Google. Although they boast about trying to provide best search results from searching parties, the evidence is that they simply want to can any site that doesn’t buy their adsense marketing ploy. I have a stack of sites and absolutely loathe the idea of presenting bad adverts that mainly produce dollars for Google, whereas if I do place any via private arrangements, I find good suppliers and they only place on decent websites. We both win. Google don’t like organic good so dump everybody with a lie. Bing do some of the same but I have much better control of my site with Bing, get more search results and have less intrusion from low quality but high paying advertisers. If the market wasn’t so opposed to flagrant porn ads, Google would lap them up and every search would be porn or gambling…because they buy most adverts. Looking forward to Firefox creating an advert free search engine…and I will donate to their cause too.

  • http://www.ever-so-sexy.com Jenny P

    It’s already been said above that Google has gone down in quality since the Penguin/Panda updates. In our sector we find ridiculous results on Google where an entire page is populated by one site – how is that quality? And even when Google manages to serve different sites there is usually only one relevant site, the rest being totally random, ebay, amazon, wiki or completely dead sites!

    • http://everydaytoys.com/ Katie

      I feel the same Jenny P. Google’s results have been in a real mess for a while, since all the P and P updates. I was prepared to live with it for a while, thinking things would settle down, but they haven’t really. I’m still seeing 10 results from the same (big name) for numerous searches, for example. At least Bing shows all different sites both large and small.

  • http://www.safari.gateway-africa.com/ Chris

    Google has begin to loose the seach engine game to Bing.
    It is better to compete fairly for a small (30%)piece of the search pie on Bing, than waste time on Google.

    The “little guy” has seen how Google like to shagg him, all you have to do is, to do a search on Google, it is all big business. The more you advertise on Google, the better your SERP.

    Google has become an evil monopoly and should be treated as such.

  • lots0

    Just Google [what is 20 percent of 25689]
    very disappointing.

    Then BING IT!
    [what is 20 percent of 25689]

    You tell me what search engine is better…

    Google should go drive their driverless cars… and leave search to people that will really do “SEARCH”.
    Google is riding it’s Brand name… that never lasts very long.

  • http://www.thoufeeq.com Thoufeeq

    Nice challenge… Looking forward for the reports and analytics

  • sj

    Google’s search results since the P & P updates are just a waste of time and an insult. It’s not surprising that people are turning to Bing and other SEs. I certainly have. Pity Google believes they’ve ‘done good’ by dumping quality, informative sites and feeding up Wikipedia, directories, the bloody map thing, paid ads and the Big Guy sites that don’t yield what the searcher was hoping to find. I’m now a ‘Binger’.

  • Alec Ward

    BingItOn link just goes straight to Bing.com, no comparison facilities.

    A quick search on bing for Architects Norwich has the first page with yell, cylex, city visitor etc, no private individual sites,

    Bing sucks.

  • http://www.cctvireland.ie Paul W

    bing still sucks! What utter sh1t from Microsoft. It shows the most arbitrary, unrelated, weak, low content sites ahead of the sites with real content. Thanks Google for being number One! Keep up the great work!

    Is this site trolled by Microsoft workers trying to persuade people to use Useless Bing? I think it is.

  • http://www.captaincyberzone.com Cap’n Cyberzone

    And what makes you believe that Bing’s results aren’t actually Google results … just rebranded?!

  • the donk

    Must admit Bing does seem better for results, google seems to display the same websites (who happen to also advertise with adwords) and multiple content from them further on in on pages 3 and 4, etc. I think google is a habit that just needs to be broken, Bing it on!

  • http://goodcontentwebsits.com Paul

    Bing gave me better search results. And my search terms were well mixed up. It’s gonna be very hard for bing researchers to find something that will replace “Google It”. bingiton I don’t think will make the cut. Just my opinion

  • http://growingwild.info James

    I have not done a lot of search over the last 3 months, been involved in other things. When I went to put together a little hobby site about strange plants growing in strange places I started looking at the related search results on Google. I was surprised to see that almost all the first 3 pages for almost all of the key terms were taken by commercial concerns and not any info sites. In most of them, not even Wikipedia made the top. Search on Google has changed drastically. I am not sure if that is better or worse, but it looks like information is losing out to the market. I can sort of understand that, but I am not sure how far that can go. I was looking for information, what I found instead was products. They may need to learn more about what terms show buying intent, and which searches indicate the need for information. In this case, the Bing results were far superior!

  • Tominguez

    Bing has pretty good results, but you don’t have to be good to be better than google today. Google lowered the results from 10 to 7 and then replaced ( and I think doubled ) with ads, they removed the products search for shopping, and have changed so many times, is horrible. Bing is consistent, cleaner and is nothing but getting better little by little.

    If you want to search for ads, google is the kind, if you want to find real info, then nobody can doubt that bing is the kind, but wait, what about yahoo? Yahoo is a super service, if I had to rate them in terms of search results I will give Bing an 8, Yahoo a 7 and Google a 3. The other day I searched for something in google, totally irrelevant to shopping, Google gave me 6 full pages, one after the other, of Amazon links, from 10 pages I saw, 6 were 100% Amazon links, but the other 4? 3 were Amazon and another big store links, the 1 page was 6 other sites ( but one was again Amazon ). I think that google should change the name to Googlazon.com

    • Riley

      That is their trend to make money. Fortunately, microsoft makes money form Windows software, Google’s adwords make them the most moeny so no wonder they are sevign more ads than ever. There is an obvious bias so their results will not be good anymore.

  • Fred

    I use Google strictly for SEO purposes. For general search, I prefer the clean Bing results. Google think they own the Internet, bunch of Cutts!!!

  • http://www.DesignsOnline.co.uk DesignsOnline

    Like so many others I’m sick of Google. Their stupid mess of the Google places listings has really annoyed me too. My customers are posting reviews & Google are only displaying them to the customer that submitted the review in the first place, and even then only when they are logged in to Google! How moronic is that?

    Google is still at the top purely because it is a deeply ingrained habbit. It isn’t better, quite the reverse. The sooner we all break that habbit the better

    • Sterve

      Bing It !

  • http://karras-bommer.blogspot.com Karras Bommer

    Google all the way for me. Don’t use Micro$oft unless forced.

  • Russell

    Googles panda penguin updates are horrible – awful relevance and now junk SERPS – bing is much much better

  • Marion Bramble

    I love Google – but I have found Bings maps are more accurate.

  • http://UKEcommerce.com UK Ecommerce

    We have found Googles results to be irratic, one minute we are ranking well top half of the first page. Next minute we are somewhere on page 7 or something… Very irritating.

    • http://www.photomemento.co.uk Geoff Allibone

      All US based search engine results are wack if you are not living in the USA. It’s commercial imperialism, but essentially anyone paying either of these companies to show their company in search results are getting a very poor deal if based outside the USA. Google is a cash spewing monster based in California. Not dissimilar to the USs’ view of the world we are all second class citizens who don’t really matter. It’s beyond pathetic there is no campaign to create a Eurocentric based search engine.
      Similarly the lack of competition to Amazon and Ebay. Oh sorry I’ve got to go and watch another episode of “How I Met Your Mumma”…………..

  • http://www.foundationdigital.com.au Pamela

    I use both. Google results have become poorer over the past 6 months or so and using Bing as an alternative can be helpful.

  • http://askmrmovies.com Arthur Tafero

    I do a lot of research and downloading from the photo repositories of Google. I tried Bing, but there was an infinite variety of more photos on Google for the same search.

  • mark

    I have always found the serach results to be more relevant using Bing VS Google

  • http://www.jbdigitalcinema.com jorj

    Does Bing store searches like Google does? I’d prefer not to have the intrusion and have moved to Bing, and will move from that if I find Bing is storing my searches.

  • Royson

    I performed the BingItOn challenge and Google won 5-0.

  • http://ephedrinewheretobuy.com Mike Budd

    I did a quick test in Bing on what I know very well, because I never use it. Well the result is very poor to my point of view. For instance I got for a common keyword a site in first place which was only one page with very poor information and an affiliate link pointing to a dead website! Amazing. This kind of result can only be due to black hat SEO by the owner of this page, buying backlinks probably.
    My conclusion: it is time for Bing to think about their own Panda and Penguin updates!

  • shana

    Maaa yes i came a cross bing UK results much better then google now. First time I used Bing and Google, Really interesting Bing results better then Google and very easy to use.

  • http://www.uktw.co.uk Robert

    yes, I think Bing has given better results for a while yet but the inertia of moving is hard to overcome. No amount of ads and clever stories will pull me to Bing but if Google keeps tinkering with its own results and pretending it knows what I’m thinking then it may well push me … sit tight Bing, I think Dr Jekyll Google has drunk the potion and is turning into Mr Hyde ….

  • http://dreamaxess.com/sect.php?sec=Internet-and-Businesses-Online:SEO gugu

    Interesting debate: Its just nit easy to make sweeping statements: Bing has better results for certain queries and Google has better results for certain queries – I personally think Google has a better over score on search dynamics- thats my take

  • http://www.devdigital.com DevDigital

    Bing is gaining good popularity in US and sometimes really shows awesome search result than Google. But still needs some updates and good database.

  • ford

    i agree bing deliver good results, last evening i use google to search but after some try different keyword google cannot deliver the results i need, i tried bing with the same keyword i use in google and presto bing show what i looking for. now i switch to bing.

  • http://site-byte.com Jeff

    Bing doesn’t get the ‘long tail’ result and I have proof. A few years back I did an experiment. If you google the exact phrase picture a duck playing soprano saxophone Google will return the exact page containg that exact phrase (my page). I won’t supply a link, try it yourself. I also document how quickly google indexed this page verses bing (google 30-40 hours, bing never!).

    So I guess it depends on your expectations of your search and how you search. In my experience I think people have learned to use search phrases that contain all of the keywords they think will yield the best result.

    Like all other Microsoft products, despite the army of brilliant minds, they are only able to compete using their marketing not their technology (with one exception, MS Excel rocks!).

  • http://www.officefreaks.com Joi

    I guess it all comes down to TRUST. I TRUST Google explicitly. They’re like family, while Bing is like the new family down the street.

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