Bing Beats Google, If You’re Looking to Kill Yourself [UPDATED]

By: Josh Wolford - September 21, 2012

UPDATE: I’ve received the following statement from Bing:

“In some cases we do prioritize the hotline and we’re reviewing the guidelines for instant answers related to this type of query,” says Stefan Weitz, Senior Director, Bing.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Earlier this month, Bing launched their “Bing It On” challenge – a blind comparison test designed to see if users preferred the search results from Bing as opposed to those of Google, if they weren’t biased. Bing said that in these blind tests, internet users chose Bing over Google by a 2 to 1 margin. The campaign has some detractors, as some pointed out that Bing was excluding features like Google’s knowledge graph from the challenge results. It could be argued that Knowledge graph is one of the things that people really love about Google nowadays, so that wasn’t exactly fair. And Google’s Matt Cutts pointed out a pretty big fail within Bing’s search results.

Oh well, all of that is beside the point, except to frame the background for this: Bing totally bests Google’s search results, if your search queries involve suicide.

Check out this comparison of Google and Bing results for the search “how to commit suicide,” courtesy of redditor naidlm:

As you can see, Google inserts the contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at the top, before any search results. Also, Google’s autocomplete will not suggest the full phrase as any point in typing the query. Bing, on the other hand, autocompletes it for you and lists a bunch of related searches on the right.

Additionally, “how to commit suicide” searches on both Yahoo and display the number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline above all results. Neither Yahoo or will suggest the complete phrase at any point.

Then, there is the response to other phrases like “how to kill…” Bing autocompletes it with “yourself” and “yourself painlessly” while Google simply suggests bugs.

To be fair, neither Google or Bing can imagine all possible suicide-related queries and plan for them. Searches for “how to slit my wrists” appear similar on both sites. And both sites freely autocomplete phrases about committing various acts of homicide. No “get help before you kill mama” warning from Google.

But searches for the phrases “I want to kill myself,” “I want to die,” “how to die,” “suicide” and “how to commit suicide” bring up the number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline as a feature in Google search. No such luck with Bing.

We’re not suggesting that Bing should nerf their autocomplete results. Plenty of people take issue with just how many words appear on that Google autocomplete blacklist. But it wouldn’t be too hard to throw a phone number for a hotline at the top of the results when someone searches one of these loaded phrases. Google did it out of a partnership with Samaritans back in 2010. Maybe they have yet to push Bing to include the feature?

But it’s hard to argue that Bing wins this round of the search battle by giving the user exactly what they want – even if what they want is information on how to end their own life.

Josh Wolford

About the Author

Josh WolfordJosh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf

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  • Shashi

    Just tried searching for “How to kill” in BING, it displayed ants, crabgrass and etc.. but not suicide related stuffs. waste of my time reading this blunder article

    • Chris Crum

      includes “yourself” and yourself without pain” for me.

  • Frank Nam Kha

    Hmm.. This is not working for me. I do not get the number to National Suicide Prevention Hotline when I write “How to commit suicide”. Hmm.. Weird. It is almost like Google want me dead :(

  • sebson

    ugh, this search vs. search stuff is annoying.
    they’re both reasonable and good engines. just use the one you prefer and shut up about it. jeez.

    • AngersAusomeAussies

      I have to agree w/Sebson here. Google has been around longer than Bing, so ppl R more familiar w/it. I prefer Bing myself for advertising PPC becuz they are a lot cheaper than Google & one can actually talk to a “live” person for help. Google, U do not get this benifit & also Pay WAY TO MUCH for PPC.

      But to get back to the subject here, Just use the one U want, try one, try both untill U get ur answer, simple as that! 😉

  • Aleshia

    i think more ppl prefer google anyway. i mean, more ppl probably have google phones like android than a windows phone… so i think google wins bcuz of better marketing their product….

    • Kevin

      Yeah, but they’re not taljing about phones or anything else. they are talking only about the search engine

  • Fox

    Nope, doesn’t work for me either. Google doesn’t display suicide hotline, and I still able to see “how to kill yourself” in the suggestion.

  • Steve D

    Perhaps it is region specific? Would explain why some are reporting different results. Maybe Bing only wants you dead if you live near the Googleplex?

  • Steve D

    Perhaps it is region specific? That what would explain why some are reporting different results. Maybe Bing only wants you dead if you live near Googleplex?

  • AngersAusomeAussies

    Great eye catching title there :-O

  • Tominguez

    No search engine is perfect, no matter how much you want to put them down, bing, yahoo, blekko, ask and others are doing better search than google

    • lindsey

      i understand on some points but yahoo search is just terrible

  • andrew

    Adsense banned my account for no valid reason after 3 years of serving and big checks, I bet they won’t dare to display that help line if I were to web search for such things

  • tresley

    sorry I want to leave this world so soon I just hate these little girls they are driving me so fucking mad and they call me swears so that means something and I know that you know that I know that I want to kill my-self so yeah good very bye world