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://www.mywebpixie.com LydieB

    Intrigued by your article and decided to test Bings affirmations, I did some keyword search comparison between Google results and Bing results. I feel I got more results on Bing.

    Meanwhile, I have become increasingly annoyed with the pervasiveness of Google, hogging the page with his ads and paid advertisers, including non pertinent results, and leaving only 30% of the space for natural organic search results. I have also become fed up with Google’s back button redirect links tricks.
    I found Bing refreshingly clean, simple and to the point. It convinced me I needed to change my default search engine to Bing, dethroning Google. Done!

  • Riley

    from SEOers and Internet Marketers, the peopel who the bulk of searching, dating back to a year ago or so, Bing has delivered better results. Google gave many results with the same website (how is that user friendly) and some results very way off. ANd it was not personalized as we were not logged into Google and used diffent computers. The Big “G” is starting to become a Big “L” loser in terms of fans.

  • alex

    google continue nonsense changes keep getting results to websites that I dont want, all my favorite websites are gone on google and I can only find it at bing.com, google keeps pushing hes luck so be it and welcome my new favorite search engine: bing!

  • http://www.trepaning.com Brian

    I switched to Bing a few months ago for my home search engine and much prefer the results. I don’t need Google to tell me I can buy such-and-such at Amazon or Overstock as first page search results. I want to know about the smaller ma and pop shops around that are selling stuff, and that is what Bing delivers. Google delivers corporate results for the mindset who enjoys shopping at Wal-Mart and those type of large box stores. I prefer the smaller ma and pop store results of Bing, as it makes my online shopping experience more interesting and enjoyable, and let’s me see what small stores are out and about across the nation. Plus, when I email the store, I am dealing with the owner usually, and that makes shopping far more personable. Google has an icy cold corporate winter feel to its search results, whereas Bing is more like a relaxing spring day.

  • http://beginwithhostgator.info Server guy

    I believe that Google is quite good, but based on my own tests, I have found that lately Bing has provided better results than Google.

    Google is still number one, but I believe they actually have to try in order to stay there. If Bing proves to be the better over all option, then I am inclined to try it.

  • chris

    I switched to Bing a couple months ago as well – their results are much better than Google’s in general. I think the only reason more have not switched is the comfort factor, people get comfortable with one thing and don’t like to change. Google was giving me such poor results, however, that I had to change. I think Bing is a much better search engine at this point than Google.

  • anSEOguy

    It’s easy – If you want to see ads, use Google. If you need information, use Bing.

    Google is in the business of maximizing profit and tracking anything and everything it can about anyone/everyone – whether or not the users are logged into its services. This improves Google’s ability to serve you even more of the ads that maximize their profits.

    Google is no longer interested in providing the most relevant search results. They have become totally fixated on serving the most profitable ADs.

  • SirCharles

    I did the test, Google on each one and Bing on 1 only… I posted on Google + the results. Google is better!

  • http://opalized.net Dave

    Google, hands down, they dont try to sell me a homicidal maniac, they tell me what it is

  • http://www.willwebb.ca Will Webb

    I don’t think search results matter, as long as they’re relevant and it works all the time. Google has built the SEO and online advertising industry as we know it. How can Bing compete against that, rather than having a Hollywood approach to it and doing a ‘compare test’ between their service and Google’s?

  • http://www.seoservicesinc.com/ James

    Bing is making good progress but indexing of geo-targeted pages is still an issue. They should conduct same research in other countries.

    • AtulK

      You are bang on target. Bing might be giving good results for the US based searches but for world outside US, the results are very poor and yes, for Geo targeting the results, Bing must learn from Google

  • http://thesmartermedia.com Art

    With the SEO updates Google has put out it doesn’t surprise me if Bing is in fact a better search engine. I personally would like to see Bing or Yahoo take over as the new search engine superstar.

  • tired of google

    i’m sick and tired of google. every since it’s penguin updates, i have seen nothing but poor content/affiliate sites on the first page. they are getting worse with each update. i hope other search engines grab market share.

  • John

    Google has destroyed its search results in the name of profit.

  • http://cozy-web-designs.com Leonard

    “Bing It”? That is a very catchy phrase like ping it or ding it. I say this to say that as silly as it may sound, many people became attached to hearing and reading the phrase “Google It” and quite naturally or subconsciously go strait to Google… just because.

    I was pretty shocked when one of my customers stated, “No problem, I’ll Bing It when I get home tonight.”

    I prefer each of them for different reasons, but I am finding myself leaning more toward Bing because I see waaaay to many of the same results for people that I know on facebook and google+ that have nothing to do with what I am searching for most of the time.

  • faust445

    got rid of my google toolbar, search and the whole bit. i’m pretty sour on google because i also have a small business and advertised using their search. their clever way of charging you makes them a load of money and we get pretty much zero return. their business model on search/advertising is pretty profitable. for them! i was awlays sceptical about getting rid of google but finally bing is delivering the same or better results so google is pretty much history as far as i am concerned.

  • http://www.christmas-inflatables.co.uk phil

    Bing are trying to give Google some competition but they are so far behind that they might be fighting a loosing battle, it is going to be hard to get people to change from using Google but its nice to see Bing having a go …i’m all for competition

  • http://egaleonews.blackapplehost.com Egaleo Newspaper

    We search the word Egaleo in greek language and in Bing our newspaper was 4th. In Google it was second. That count for us. Bing is really making good progress but Google is the best, for now

  • Joe

    I haven’t used Google since before Christ. Bing delivers more accurate results. Google is too self-serving and inaccurate.

  • http://Mabuzi.com Kevin

    Competition is good. We are grateful for what Google has done for search. Imagine if it was only Yahoo.

  • BrandyHoran


  • robert

    Google won two out of three times, once bing brought no results when google had a whole page of links. My choice is google. Even though I consistently use Yahoo search

  • Jason

    Bing won 2 out of 3 times for me. I hope they continue to improve.

  • http://lovezack.blogspot.com/ Zedekiah

    I still don’t use the king bing-a-ling. Google is just the “go to” search engine.

  • http://www.lakeouachita.org Ben

    Bing delivers better serps and has a better look and feel, that is simply not enough, Google is entrenched as the number 1 search engine in the public’s eye at this time. It will take a strong public awareness campaign by Bing to over come King google.

  • https://twitter.com/PicturesqueScot Gav

    I’ve used Google since 1999 and only changed my default search engine for the first time this year after the Google June/July clustering of one site update, I’ve had over 200 results from 1 site before getting anything from other domains.

    Bing have chosen their timing well to do this, as I wouldn’t say bing was better than google pre-cluster update, but as google currently sits Bing is much better!

    If Google get rid of the 200+ results for the same site in the first 20 pages then Google may get my use again.

    Friends that don’t work online but use search engines for you know finding things have rang me and asked what’s happened to Google and how do they find a different one to use.

    If I want very up to the minute updates I still use google for that, but the Bing news option is getting better for this too.

  • Laura

    Google got too fancy and too commercial. For real results I use Bing.
    I’d rather Bing than Google !

  • David

    Some people hate Microsoft and have not realized Google is the new Microsoft. Too much clutter, too much self serving. Google serves you what they think you want and not what you are looking for. And sorry AtulK but for outside US Bing is the best. When I try to google something in my region: “no results found” then I Bing and BANG ! Here they are, exactly what I was looking for. I am surprised Google is getting away with its lately so bad performance.

    • http://none will

      Gogle is 4 gay assholes

      • http://mcqtools.cu.cc Trennon

        ok, one Google is NOT. Google has by far the largest and fastest servers in the world. Google follows the guidelines that Webmasters submit when they index their website. Because they ask Google not to show their information on a certain Region, the information you request is not shown… Google search is Simple, fast, and easy. Microsoft makes Bing users unable to search if their PC is too old or if they are not using a compatible OS, thus trying to get them more money. Google automatically adopts to the OS and Browser so it runs as fast as possible.

  • Unanamous

    I think Bing lies about it’s winning

    Google Rocks!

  • Unanamous

    When I did Bing it on i got:


    (The last had All sub-searches google!)

  • Google (Not)

    Bing advertises horribly for not Bing users.

  • S.D

    5 rounds –

    1. Google
    2. Bing
    3. Google
    4. Google
    5. Google

    Google is undoubtedly the best!
    PS – Please don’t try the keywords suggested by Bing on the “BingItOn” site. I tried my own keywords and the results are pretty straightforward. Google clearly won!

  • Joe

    Bing provides result which is as per your requirement in search term. Google has own priorities such as adwords etc. For search we must prefer Bing, and the only flaw with bing is that indexing rate is comparatively slow which does not make much difference unless you are searching for something latest.

  • Nat

    Now Bing is better than google. Google’s search results are terrible now.

  • http://mcqtools.cu.cc Trennon

    The only way I can see that Bing would have won is because they force it on every PC that is purchased as the home page. Microsoft also has Bing Toolbars that are installed and the new ‘Bing Bar’ that adds itself to the desktop on an update. If you didn’t notice, Google does none of that. They used to have the Google Desktop program (now ended), that was the only real program they had for PC’s, and the only computer that I have owned that ever had it was my old Windows XP Compaq. Microsoft acts as if Bing is all that, but really it is forced upon every user when they first turn on their computer. It’s like Internet Explorer, you don’t like it, but you are afraid to change it.

  • Jess

    I use to think Google was the best until I needed to build a Website for my Church. Then I realize that Bing was showing accurately my website as it was suppose to be in the first three spots. It is crazy because there is not ANY other Church name like ours, and instead, Google is showing up lots of junk but the church site. I am using the same name with some modifications, which no other church uses and still Google keeps showing everything but MY SITE!

    I tried their Google analytics and NO IMPROVEMENT!!! I went to Bing webmaster tools and BING! In one shoot Bing took my page and is now listed always in the first three results regardless the key words combination. And a final sucking surprise from Google. Even though I look for the name of my site exactly as it appears in the URL, Google keeps saying DID YOU MEAN …. and suggest a a different site, even though my Church site appears first in that specific keywords search.

    Definitely Google has gone down. I think they have been trying so hard to make their search engine smarter to voice response and other features that they have forgotten the basics. THAT’S SUPER SUCKS! Long Live to Microsoft! Thanks Bill! But may the all honor and glory be for JESUS and his Church! And sorry for using the word sucks so much.

  • Virendra

    Hi SEO Professional ! Greeting from Virendra.
    Finally I moved to use Bing search and Bing webmaster tool. Bye bye Google. Google is unable to deliver required search result it its organic search. Google adword is also wastage of money and time. I discussed with all customers and they agree with me to search another web property for advertisement. Lets start with Bing.

    I know many members don’t agree with my words but Its fact when you lost customers and nothing get after huge investment on Google.

  • Vijay

    Now a days, Google is googling. Google search results are changing drastically every day! It appears that Google is trying to monetize the PPC by providing substandard results selectively (that is where there are money keywords involved), and demoting natural organic best results. Bing seems to be much better!

  • http://www.reputationmanagementagency.co.uk/ reputation managent agency

    There is pro and cons for both,and it will always be like that.

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