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Could Bing Snowball Into Google’s Territory?

Comparing Google and Bing Feature by Feature

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Google wants to make sure you don’t forget about Google like you forgot about Dre. With Bing, Microsoft has created the most buzz the company has ever seen in the search industry, and it is spending a large (and well-publicized) sum of money to make sure people know about this one. Are you already using Bing regularly? Do you prefer it to Google?

Live Search never quite caught on like the company had hoped, but this time Microsoft has come out swinging. You’ve probably seen some of the ads (like the one below). They don’t come right out and bash Google by name, but everybody knows what they’re talking about.

Google hasn’t had that branding problem that Microsoft has historically struggled with since it entered the search game. But there might even be more people aware of Bing now than were ever aware of Live Search. Why not? Bing is on their TVs. Watch your video online? It’s there too. Bing is in the house. The problem for Bing is that Google never left the house, and Google is now reminding everybody that they are in full effect.

The search engine has added a new link to its home page that simply says, "Discovering the web."

Google - Discover the Web

Clicking on this link takes you to a page that highlights some of the special searches you can perform on Google to get your answers right in the results. These include:

- Weather
- Movie times
- Dictionary
- Calculator
- Fill in the blank
- Public Data
- Local businesses
- Sports scores
- Time
- Earthquakes
- Package tracking
- Unit conversion
- Flight tracker
- Stock quotes
- Currency conversion
- Area codes

Specifically, the page says: "Search is at the heart of everything we do at Google. Our engineers work every day to solve the hardest search problems, and thus improve your online experience. Here’s a glimpse at what they do, the features they’ve built and the remarkable user stories that inspire our work."

Google shares a fifteen-second video clip demonstrating each of the topics listed above. Here’s the one for the flight tracker:

Let’s compare some Google and Bing features starting with a few of the ones Google is highlighting…

Weather

Both gave me similar results, but Google gave them to me for Lexington, where I live, and Bing gave them to me for Roachdale, Indiana, where I’ve never been. Bing did give the option to change my location, and when I did that, the actual forecasts were somewhat different. I guess I’ll have to wait and see how the next few days pan out before I can make a call on which one of those was better. Weather’s a pretty iffy subject anyway. How often does your local meteorologist get it right? (Update: After I wrote this article it rained heavily. Bing called for haze, Google was more accurate.)

Google weather

 

Bing weather

Bing weather

Movie times

Again, both Bing and Google give very similar top results. They both show movie listings for my hometown, and both show star ratings by the movies. Bing shows a few more listings on the page, Google shows links to reviews/trailers and Bing does not. Neither one shows actual times on the page, so I’m going to have to click through on a result to get what I’m looking for regardless.

Dictionary

In the dictionary category, I have to give the edge to Google. If you search for "dictionary" on either, you will get a search box you can use to look up a word. I have long used the search operator "define:" on Google, and it has always worked very well. It provides a list of definitions. The same query on Bing brings up a regular results page reminding me of the very pages they are mocking in their own commercials. Here’s the result I got for "define:audio" on Bing:

Define audio on Bing

Calculator

Both seem to work pretty much the same here. Enter your mathematical problem, and it gives you the answer, just as a calculator would.

Package Tracking

Again, both seem to deliver essentially the same top result – a link for tracking the package based on the number you enter.

Travel

Travel is supposed to be one of Bing’s strong points, and with the launch of Bing Travel, Bing may have the upper hand here, but you can get flight tracking info from either search engine. Bing Travel really seems to compete more with sites like Expedia and Travelocity, which are well-branded and established travel sites, but as far as the battle between Google and Bing goes, I have to give this one to Bing.

Bing Travel

Real-Time Search

Here’s one comparison of real-time search results on Bing and Google. Neither search engine is known for these kind of results… yet. As WebProNews noted this week, Alex Chitu discovered a statement hidden away on a Google site that read, "This is the MicroBlogsearch Universal result group header text.  A Microblog is a blog with very short entries.  Twitter is the popular service associated with this format." This indicates that Google appears to be working on real-time search. I would be very surprised if Microsoft’s Bing Team were not up to something in this area as well. Frankly, they have to be.

The amount of attention Bing is getting should simply highlight the fact that there is search beyond Google. It’s possible this increased exposure to search could generate interest in other search engines as well. For example, some people might say to themselves, "Well, I’ve been using Google for all this time, and now I’m messing around with Bing. Boy, it’s sure been a long time since I searched with Yahoo. I wonder what they’re up to these days…"

But the question is, should Google worry about Bing? They certainly shouldn’t ignore it, and as the new "discovering the web" link on google.com seems to indicate, Google is not. Considering all of the other Google services users are already involved with from Gmail to Google Reader to Google Earth … that Google search box is never too far away!

If the Bing snowball effect really got started, Google would have a real competitor with deep pockets. A lot of what Microsoft has lacked in the past (with regards to search) has been having a brand everybody knew. They are on the right track with Bing. Spending big money in marketing seems to be helping Bing gain traction. I would imagine Google is willing to do the same should they ever have to. Right now, the company is still resting  comfortably in the lead in terms of search market share, but Bing is making early in-roads.

Does Bing offer enough to drive people away from Google? Will it in the future?

Google has had so many users for so long, it’s probably going to take some major screw-up(s) to drive them away. I think most Google users are generally content with their results and have been for some time. Really, how often do you have to navigate past the first page of results to find what you are looking for?

Are you using Bing as your regular search engine? If so, have you left Google behind to do so? We want to hear about it.

Could Bing Snowball Into Google’s Territory?
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  • Guest

    I still use Google msot often, but I find myself using Bing also. I would say that Bing took some of my Google share. But mostly, I find that I’ve pretty much stopped using Yahoo. And, I think that this is the real story for lots of people.

    More on: http://domusinc.blogspot.com/2009/06/ppc-marketing-bing-gains-yahoo-loses.html

  • Guest

    I just did a search for “cell phone” on both. I have to say that Bing was a lot better than Google on that search.

    The links and categories on the left made Bing better. Plus Bing had a shop for a cell phone link that took me to a list of phones were I could get details user reviews and their Bing cash back if I purchased one.

  • http://www.asset-protection.articlesmymoney.com Asset Protection Information

    Bing works nicely…

    Problem with Bing is for Webmasters.
    When you look at your Stats in C-Panel Bing doesn’t show what Key Words it’s pulling.

    This in hence , Is nerve racking on a Web Site Owners mind.
    Google shows you still where it’s pulling from.

    Problem with Google is, It’s much tougher to rank for your Keywords.

  • http://www.linguacounsel.com Bryan

    In relation to Bing, yes it does work nicely. Yes, it did create a lot of hype.

    The issue is that although in reacts as expected in many cases, Age seems to be a determining factor of importance for rendering query results on the SERPs.

    If the net is supposed to be fast-acting and current, perhaps their stab at anti-spam sites and black hat SEO prevention goes against the flow of current information.

    I think they’ll be used by many – but still has the advantage. People are creatures of habit.

    Regards
    B

    • http://www.linguacounsel.com Bryan

      …”but Google still has the advantage”

  • Nix

    One check for general goodsearchiness – the ego check.

    Searching for myself (firstname lastname, nothing fancy) on Google gives me a few relevant hits on the first page – facebook, linkedin, a comment on a news site. Bing gave me none, just a few pages of hits for pages containing the two words in some unconnected way.

    This very unscientific test leads me to think that Google’s search algorithms are better in this case at knowing what I was after. Surely looking for two words in the right order and position before looking further is fairly basic functionality?

    I don’t really care about weather et al, I just want to find the information I’m searching for on the first page of results.

  • Guest

    From a search perspective, my unscientific sampling of searches has been very unimpressive for Bing – for now I will use it only if Google fails to return me anything useful.

    From a branding perspective, I don’t like the name Bing. Google has become a verb and lots of people can be seen “googling” daily – I just can’t imagine them “binging” – it’s not even easy to say.

  • http://www.careers.org Marc Snyder

    I’ve long felt that Live Search delivered the best search results and was easier to use. It’s now even better as Bing.com. I also feel that Google has grown too big, too powerful and controls the destiny of far too many websites.

  • http://www.neutralsystems.com Newsletter Group

    We did our own vanity test searching our names. Results: Google was by far the most thorough and complete search. Only a few showed up in Bing. Same for our website name search.
    Bing has some catching up to do before it can be taken seriously as an alternative to Google.

  • Soapameyer

    Well it beats cuil. :)

    The two factors that tip the scales for me are TRUST as an advertiser, and CRAP results as a surfer. I already have a big problem trusting MS, but I don’t feel that G is beyond taking advantage by any means.

    We have not resumed our MS ppc campaign yet, but may give it a trial gofor a couple months. Yahoo? Forget about it.

  • http://twitter.com/LarryWentz Larry Wentz

    I am convinced that many webmasters who currently have Adsense ads on their pages would give Bing a chance to host their ads if they release that type of program. Yahoo, of course, has been in Beta mode for years now with their Adsense competitor product and hasn’t turned their program on to all webmasters (doesn’t look like they ever will).

    Bing needs to have an Adsense competitor because the branding exposure would not only be fantastic being on numerous sites – it also would take exposure & money directly out of Google’s pocket!

  • http://twiter.com/greyeyesgabriel Guest

    Bing.com is nothing more than Live search in a new wrapper; their search results are still the same Live search. Google isn’t broken; I rarely have to go past the first page to find what I am looking for; and I look for some difficult things to find. Live Search fell below a Social Network in world ranking as Facebook took over their #3 spot; Google still @ #1, Yahoo! still #2; which has made Microsoft more aware of the fact changing MSN to Live did not change the way people perceive them. Now they are sticking with their broken formula of changing their name and flooding the market with pointless advertising. If the really want Bing.com to take on Google, perhaps the should remove the Microsoft branding. Bill Gates has felt the grip on his monopoly slipping with such failures as ME, Vista, and the growing popularity of Apple; and Bing is no more than a lame attempt to catch up to the other Search Engines that are leaving them behind. Yahoo has a better chance of taking #1 from Google than Bing. The fact is; why should people switch their search engine when it’s not broken; want to know more about me…

    …Google greyeyesgabriel…

    • http://twiter.com/greyeyesgabriel greyeyesgabriel

      I did my greyeyesgabriel search on bing; it not only returned fewer results; but also gave my social accounts over my actual websites; while Google not only puts my business websites first; but it also returned 4,530 results vs 153 return results on bing. Google also allows me to move my search results to the first page or to the top of the search. Bing has a lot more to do than just bring a catchy name and an expensive ad campaign. Maybe if Microsoft would focus on finishing a product before they release it, they would have better results.

  • http://www.hotpepper.ca/ Kim Siever

    I love how MSN Encarta comes up in your search for “define:audio”. Gotta love the padded results.

    • http://twiter.com/greyeyesgabriel greyeyesgabriel

      What else would you expect from Microsoft; only MS and MS partners; just like Vista, LOL…

  • http://officialsafetyandsecurity.com Official Safety and Security

    My safety and security web site traffic is growing every day with Bing hits. I get a lot of Google and Yahoo traffic of course but the Bing traffic is steadily growing. I don’t remember getting that much MSN or Live traffic before so I think they must be doing something different this time.

  • http://ripsychotherapy.com Mike A

    Now, that is the last thing I thought I’d ever say about a Microsoft product. Still don’t trust them. But in my experience, the results are better. For some search terms, like “body sock” for instance, google’s results are a mix of companies, synonyms, videos, 2 year old newspaper articles and finally you get to the results. Or look for a MD or other service in your area, the first google results are likely to be from yellow pages or paid web directories. I have not found these problems in bing. And I am not very impressed when google leads with its local business results-it seems frequently to provide results out of the area I am looking for while overlooking pertinent results. Perhaps the depth of their results is not as extensive as googles. But one assumes that will change with time.

  • http://www.playingcardsandmore.com Tom

    This time, maybe Microsoft stands a chance.

    • Guest

      Bing? This stuff looks like a 3rd-grade science project, marketed as the next big thing in nanotechnology..

      Look, bing is interesting; but not interesting enough for me to use it regularly. They were saying it would change the face of search, or ‘decide’ as they say, but really i don’t see it being that much different or ‘better’ than msn live.

      wooooh wahaaaaaaah waaa – that’s a jedi mind trick that microsoft is using on you…

  • dsrtrosy

    While I think the ad agency producing the new ad campaign has hit a flawless note (I knew what the point was long before the first ad got to the punchline), I am not convinced to trust anything from Microsoft. In fact, in the wake of their disastrous “I’m a PC” campaign in which they completely ignore their own branding, I’m not sure this site will benefit from the direct association with Microsoft.

    So far, not even the responders saying they prefer Bing have given a compelling reason to try it much less use it on a regular basis. I have Google in my status bar and don’t expect to replace it with an up-and-comer without a lot more hype from real users. In earlier days I would have tried it just BECAUSE OF the hype–now, I won’t waste my time. Microsoft has lost the benefit of the doubt in my world.

  • http://www.adwido.com Adwido Advertising

    I’ve had never heard of bing before this news release. I will have to look into it and see for myself what kind of potential this platform holds.

  • Butch

    “Really, how often do you have to navigate past the first page of results to find what you are looking for?”

    Are you kidding? If you’re asking that about Google, the answer is “constantly.” Our experience — at least since last fall — is the same as Mike A’s: “google’s results are a mix of companies, synonyms, videos, 2 year old newspaper articles and finally you get to the results.”

    We turned to MSN Live when the radical shift in Google’s search algorithm — now favoring “page rank” and “popularity” uber alles — placed dozens, often hundreds, of utterly irrelevant sites and pages (many, if not most, in flagrant violation of Google’s supposed new rules against paid listings, keyword spamming, zero-content pages, &c’ &c’) far ahead of sites and pages truly relevant to any search terms entered, and simultaneously purged thousands of genuinely relevant (and rule-abiding) sites from their index.

    Bing has become our search engine of first resort not so much because Live / Bing is so much better than Google — it’s only a smidgen better, returning fewer irrelevant results (and yes, sometimes fewer relevant ones as well). It’s that Google, once nearly perfect and for many years the only search engine we (or anyone) could need, has gotten so phenomenally worse than it used to be. That said, Google’s Image Search still beats the snot out of Bing’s…

  • http://www.baldydog.com Adam Donkus

    When I start seeing Bing showing up in the analytics..(does bing have analytics?) as a top referer, then I will start to worry about optimizing for it.
    I wish Bing all the luck because competition will only serve to help the end user.

  • http://scottsdalearizonarestaurants.com Guest

    I am concerned about Google being the ultimate big brother hiding in hipster clothing. I like bing and find the results equal.

  • http://www.patrickmcmurray.com Patrick McMurray

    Things have a habit of snowballing. Bing is good, but I am not going to jump a ship that is not sinking. Google is still the one to benchmark against,”Yes”?

  • http://www.healthy.co.nz Guest

    Google all the way! I have found bing search more frustrating then anything. Not to mention that it’s a microsoft company eek.

    • Guest

      I had been comparing searches for certain subjects of interest on MSN and Google. One day MSN Search became Bing but the search results did not change. Seems like more hype than substance.

  • Dan

    Bing is good, Google is good. Regardless of my contempt for MS, competition is good for business !

    I found Bing refreshing and lately, Google a bit stale.

    Lets the games begin…. again.

    More is better.

  • rajiv

    Hi,
    I tried my own testing in Bing for many keywords and compare the results with google.
    Many of the sites showing in the bing result were not active. So I suppose they should seriously look into this.

    Thanks
    Rajiv

  • Paul

    Sincerely i hope google sinks .

    How do you explain first position in all other search engines and in google a crap of website with 10 visitors/day is no1.
    I think google is down.No thinking at all

    • http://www.controldatainc.com Agency collection debt

      I agree , Google has played games for years with their black art of ranking and hiding how they even come up with it. I love Bing! It’s about time someone came along with some competition. What a great search engine

      • Guest

        This IS a bonus! Tell us, how does Bing rank pages? What’s their system?

        Oh … wait a minute … you have no idea about that, do you? You’re just mad at Google because they won’t tell you how to game their system … like Bing won’t tell you, either, but since they are newer, you’re not as mad at them.

        The lesson is: Just because Google doesn’t rank your website very well doesn’t mean there is something wrong with their process. It just means your website isn’t ranking very well, and you have things to learn and work to do to change that. The same will be true for Bing.

        • http://www.getafreelancer.com Mark

          A very fair call indeed, no matter the search engine, your site needs to be good enough. I tried Bing myself, sure it’s pretty, but does it have the technology?

  • Guest

    Bing Sucks!

  • http://www.online-rich.com Tatyana

    Bing is fine, though I don’t use it much. I got used to Google. Besides as for me Google is much more creative and has more features now.
    Anyway I will not be surprised if in a year or so Bing will make a big competition to Google as it has a good potential for attracting more users.

  • http://www.ph-creative.com matt

    I’m trying to convert myself to bing, i like bing, they’re innovating and i think competition is a good thing.

    How do you know Google is the best solution for online search when we’ve never had any other search engine competative enough to make them work better or give us more options.

    I’m behind bing 100%

    • http://www.sugarsr4u.com Guest Alf Jones

      I too like Bing, it is very good and refreshing to see and use. It possibly is better than Google, but if not, I would consider it to be at least as good as.
      Good luck to all at Bing, even though I am not a Microsoft lover, I just think Bing has a good future.

  • JP

    The main thing I hate about Google is they think their $hit don’t stink. You make one mistake with your website and they yank you out your position with no warning or explaination. You think they would be kind enough to let you know. Most people aren’t experts in SEO, let alone able to afford one that is and then you don’t know if your getting one that’s practising black hat techniques. You can’t tell me that Google doesn’t know when someone makes a mistake compared to when someone is trying to use a black hat technique. I hope Bing takes out Google. I know there are lots of other people out there that Google has harmed.

  • http://bloggerstop.net Sai @ Blogger Templates

    As I always say…..there must come a strong competitor against Google….monopoly is always bad !
    But Bing still lacks the potential to beat Google !

    I feel that MS and Yahoo are too much concerned about making money….while Google first thinks of making their service better and then it finds a way of making money from it’s service !

  • http://www.biorock-uk.com sewage treatment

    I changed to BING because I was sick of getting 1st page results with news, videos, you-tube, plays, government sites, etc. for every thing I wanted to buy. Bing cuts straight to the chase and the side bar info on the page is great.

  • http://www.gurlzgoneglam.com GGG

    I started using Bing as my default search this week. Google is now my number two. I like Bing. Sure there are a few things to hone and sharpen, but as someone mentioned previously, Google has grown a bit “stale” for me as well and it’s always nice to see fresh, new faces on the Internet. A monopoly is never a good thing. We need choices and I welcome Bing! :D

  • estewart

    I tried out Bing, and possibly on the first day it appeared, or right soon after. And I was astonished! It was a real surprise. It was great. It worked really good. I figure, they musta had many many spiders working for some time, to be able gather sites up on the net to the extent that would make Bing be able to do its thing. Bing, bing, bing.

    Me, I have never cared for any other Search Engine, but, GOOGLE… just like most of the rest of the online peeps.

    AND…. if spite of liking Bing, as much as I did, I still use GOOGLE.

    Why?

    It’s handy. It’s familiar…. and it works just fine, for me, thank you.

    Later on, one day, when I have nothing better to do (if that ever happens), I might put the two SEARCH engines to a comparison test searching for specialized items of particular personal interest…. and see which one then serves me best. Right now, I feel such a test would be way too soon. I’ll wait for ‘em to battle it out for a while.

    One thing that GOOGLE really has going for it is the new GOOGLE Chrome browser. I’ve preferred to use FIREFOX for years. But it has recently been falling into a “Not Responding” mode too much of the time, like, for minutes at a time, over and over, on both my older and newer computers…. running XP. I keep Windows Task Manager at hand, so I can tell what’s going on…. like, in consideration of just WHY a page seems to be opening so slow.. and so I can kill an app (say, Firefox) the fastest, cleanest, and bestest way — using the running Processes list.

    Chrome is like THE browser for the new Century. It’s really modern styled, and has all the special functions that Firefox has, such as the built-in spell-checker, and various things which IE doesn’t, and which I am accustomed to using, plus, a whole lot more neat new tricks. And since a strong integration of GOOGLE Chrome with an updated GOOGLE Search engine is sure to evolve, even beyond what already exists, Microsoft is going to be finally forced to develop a browser at least as good as what FIREFOX used to be. But, I don’t expect to see an MS browser anywhere near as good as Chrome anytime within the next ten years, if ever. And that situation will naturally effect the status of Bing during all that time.

    Right now, few know just how good Chrome is, but that will be fast changing…. and will be further supportive of the good ol’ GOOGLE Search engine.

    I say, I see little chance of any one ever catching up with GOOGLE (in all its forms).

    So…. no matter how much Bing Bong Bing noise MS makes on the telly, I’ll likely continue to google GOOGLE… ‘less Bing can come up with an altogether marvelous new idea which I’ll be needing to take advantage of.

  • http://www.azhariqbal.com SEO Outsourcing services dubai, uk

    Microsoft has done it! bing bing bing

  • http://www.dingostew.com dingo

    The results still differ for my site and known keywords I use. Google ranks them in the top 5. Bing doesnt even have them on the first page!

    My content is sound but the sites in the bing results are sites linking to my sites. Admittedly, they all have a higher Google PR than my site but how come Bing picks up the anchor text on the linking sites and works from that as opposed to the actual site they’re linking to!

  • http://www.PeopleSearches.com Guest

    PeopleSearches.com

  • http://anna-thisisyourworld.blogspot.com/ Anna Storer

    I love Google, but Bing has added something others in the field have overlooked. Since Bing came into being(pardon the phrase),I am a very regular user because of the simplicity of it’s features. I can add all my URLS, Websites etc., to my heart’s content without having to to go through the messy stuff of linking,back logging, registriging,up-grading membership and all that BULL just to be listed.

    We all have to look at new ways of doing this other wise we are left behind in what is called -progress. I think Google has to look at this new concept and come up with something to match it – or be left behind.
    LOVE them both -BUT?

  • http://www.EngineEd.com Engine Ed

    In my opinion Google is the Bomb. Google has so may very cool, helpful and free services I think Bing will just have to settle for being second or third best, probably for a very, very, very, very long time. Google has got it going on.

  • Guest

    I was drawn here because of the reference to Roachdale, IN as the (impossible to change!) default weather location in this new combination of MSN.com / Bing. I have users asking me why we can’t get the local weather to remain as the default. Oddly, I also live in Lexington, KY!!!

  • http://www.scottsmobile.com Don

    After putting the common man in China behind a great wall of government control, Google can move to China. With Bing I can sing and never need to “Google” anything.

    Way to go, Microsoft! Now get those code hackers at Google on their knees. I am tired of their pay-for-listing ploys. Go home boys! Sharks in the water now.

    A search engine shouldn’t control the market or the free Internet. Period.

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