Let’s start with a simple premise: for the moment, Bing is not going to de-thrown Google as the king of search. Yes, it’s a great search engine and yes it has some potential, but is it better than Google? I’m not so sure and I doubt anyone could say for certain one way or the other. Here’s the facts as I see them:
Google and Bing have a similar feature set and even a similar design for their home pages. Both of them offer you a basic search box along with a list of other search options, the big difference being that Google offers those along the top while Bing has them along the left side of the page. The other difference is that Google maintains the clean white page while Bing has a photo background.
Unscientific Search Results
I decided to test this question by doing a series of searches on both Bing and Google to see what the results would be. The first thing I entered was, appropriately enough, “Google Vs. Bing”. The results were virtually identical with a few sites in slightly different positions on the front page.
Interestingly though, neither search engine gave me exactly what I was looking for – current material which had been published in the past month or two. I was able to set parameters on both search engines for search within the past month, though Google had that feature buried in an extra level and required me to leave the main search page. Bing had it right on the left side, but only offered to search the past month (Google offered the past year as well).
Other Searches, Similar Results
My second search was for “watch TV online.” Hulu came up first and the rest of the results were virtually identical, again with slight variations in position. The other searches were for “streaming music online,” “learn a language” and “Disneyworld vacation.” Again, the results were virtually identical and were both instant.
Both offer the same instant search that I’ve written about recently with Google and both seem to use a similar algorithm for ranking. I didn’t see any real variation on the first page of either engine, only in position.
Microsoft recently scored a huge coup when they signed a deal to have their search engine be the default engine on Blackberry devices. I don’t think this makes them better though – it just means that they’re able to increase their market share with mobile customers.
I think the question of whether Google or Bing is better really comes down to personal preference. Do you like the cleaner look on Google or do you prefer to see a background on the search page? As for search engine optimization, I believe that you ignore one or the other at your own peril since Bing is clearly gaining in market share.