Last month, Bing launched the Bing It On Challenge, a campaign and website where people can do a "blind taste test" comparison of Google's search results compared to Bing. Today, Bing has provided an update of how it's been going.
"Our goal with the Bing It On Challenge is to contrast the habitual use of Google with research showing that people chose Bing’s Web search results over Google’s nearly 2:1 in blind comparison tests," a Bing spokesperson tells WebProNews. "Since launching the great search debate, we have had over five million visits to the Bing It On Challenge site. The strong response inspired us to conduct a new round of research designed to test what happens to perceptions about search quality when people take the Challenge."
"Our independent research partner, Answers Research, conducted a statistically significant survey across 4,700 people who took the Bing It On Challenge to understand how their Challenge results were impacting their attitudes about search," he adds. "Of those surveyed, 64 percent of people were surprised by the quality of Bing’s results and over half of the people surveyed indicated their impression of Bing improved after seeing Bing’s search results right next to Google’s. We see people’s perceptions of Bing shifting, with 33 percent of the primary Google users surveyed saying they would use Bing more often after taking the Challenge. All it took was a try!"
Here is Bing's blog post about the news.
So basically, 67% of people who primarily use Google would not use Bing more often after taking the challenge. Also, based on the wording Bing uses, the 33% would use Bing "more often," which does not necessarily mean they would stop using Google as their primary search engine and start using Bing instead.
Additionally, Bing says, "17% who found Bing more favorable after taking the side-by-side comparison said it revealed flaws in Google’s results." Emphasis added.
It's still unclear just what percentage of people who took the challenge actually think Bing has better results than Google. When the challenge was launched, Bing said people preferred Bing 2:1. They're still pushing those numbers. We've asked Bing what percentage of users have actually indicated that they prefer Bing results to Google results. We'll update if we get a response.
Update: We got a response from Bing GM Adam Sohn, who tells us, "We aren’t keeping track of the results from the Bing It On tool, because it’s non-scientific and was intended to be a fun way for customers to experiment with both search engines, seeing web search results side-by-side from both Bing and Google, hopefully noticing the progress Bing has made over the past few years.”
Either way, I'm not sure how much the Bing It On challenge really tells us about user preference, considering that the tool strips out key user experience elements from both search engines. Because of this, it hardly portrays an accurate representation of either Google or Bing results.
Meanwhile, the jury's still out on the Million Short It On challenge.