After spending several years playing catch-up to Google, Microsoft's Bing search engine is finally reaching a point where it is just as good as its rival, according to Microsoft's Harry Shum.
In a recent interview Shum tells Wired that Bing is at least as good as Google in terms of the freshness of its search results. Shum agrees that Google, thanks the 2010 upgrade to the Caffeine software platform, is good at "freshness," i.e., crawling and indexing sites quickly so that they can be displayed in search results. Google's skill in this area is something Microsoft is keenly aware of, but Shum insists that "if you look at the freshness of our queries, I hope you feel that Bing's freshness... is at least on par with Google."
Google maintains a nearly-unassailable hegemony in the world of search, a fact that has led many to ridicule Microsoft's attempt to enter the market with Bing. While Google's top ranking has not changed, Bing made significant advances, and Shum believes that Microsoft's days of playing catch-up are over. He says that "after a lot of effort, we understand search quality problems better than before, and... if you look at Google and Bing, the quality is beginning to be very comparable."
As it happens, the claims that Shum makes in the interview are easily tested. To see how Bing handled recent results, I ran a search tailored to find a WebProNews article posted just before this one. Though the article is (as of 1:35 PM Eastern time) less than five minutes old, both Bing and Google found it:
So in this case, at least, Google and Bing do a comparable job of bringing up "fresh" results.
What do you think? Is Bing just as good as Google? Let us know in the comments.