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Bing vs. Google: Comparing Them Side-by-side

Have you been using Microsoft’s (s msft) (and now Yahoo’s (s yhoo)) new Bing search engine in conjunction with Google (s goog) for searches? I have, partly because of the novelty, and partly because Bing does a few interesting things that Google doesn’t, including good natural language searches. Webware has published an interesting roundup of a slew of mashup applications designed to let you perform Bing and Google searches simultaneously, with, in some cases, dual-paned views of search results. These include CompareGoogle and Google-Bing, but the most useful one appears to be Bing vs. Google. It gives you a dual-paned view of results from both search engines, and has some shortcomings, but while using it I got a better sense than ever of what Bing and Google, respectively, are good at.

One thing that Bing does well is give you categories and suggestions related to your searches on the left-hand side of your search results screen. You can get a real feel for how the two search engines differ in this regard by going to Bing-vs.-Google and entering, say, the name of a software application in which you’re interested. As seen in the screenshot above, I typed in “GIMP” for a search there, (GIMP is a popular open-source graphics application) and Bing gave me a number of links on the left side of my screen that were more helpful than Google’s links, including a prominently placed link for downloading the app.

As I’ve noted before, Bing is also very good at natural language searches, for answering questions such as “Which companies has Google acquired?” It’s good at these because technology from Powerset, leveraging the clustered query intelligence found in the Hadoop software framework, is built into Bing. Using Bing vs. Google, I was able to get several better answers to natural language questions from Bing than I was from Google.

One thing that I wish Bing vs. Google could do is allow me to search for images and video. I can’t see any way to do so, and it’s a shame, because both search engines are good at retrieving pictures and video, and both have their own advantages. For example, Bing lets you hover your mouse arrow over video thumbnails, and see the videos playing in thumbnails before you go to the trouble of visiting the pages on which they’re housed. I wish I could do that on the left of Bing vs. Google’s dual-paned view, while viewing Google’s results on the right.

Google remains my favorite search engine for its reliability and accuracy, but Bing shines at some tasks, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the Bing/Google mashup applications grow and become useful. For now, Bing vs. Google is mainly a novelty, but it does help drive home some of the unique advantages that the two search engines have.

Do you turn to Bing for certain tasks, or does Google remain your default browser?

15 Responses to “Bing vs. Google: Comparing Them Side-by-side”

  1. What I’m missing in this article is the pretty obvious explanation: due to layout with the left-hand navigation of Bing, the natural results are more towards the centre of the screen than on Google. So the distance between the natural results and the ads is less. So it’s pretty obvious more people will notice the ads.

    Don’t need eyetracking to know that, although eyetracking confirms what every usability expert would have ‘guessed’

  2. I end up on Bing due to the IE6 used at a customer site and the results are constantly horrible. For easy searches I found that google returns the apropriate homepage first, with subcategories, and relavant other sources below.

    Bing returns 10 sites which get you to a relevant source after 1 or 2 clicks. Absolutely useless.

    Even worse with complex specific queries like finding information about a specific bug in a library.

    Bing might be a step in the right direction, but a step doesn’t help much if the competition leads by 100meters.

    I personally find Wolfram|Alpha a much more interesting tool since it doesn’t try to be the next big search engine. It is a complementary tool: (I wrote about it here:

  3. steve514

    Microsoft has definitely taken a step in the right direction this time around. Past Microsoft search projects such as live and msn have been far from up to part with competing search engines (i.e Google). Bing has the potential to become a strong Microsoft product given the right amount of attention and support from the company. It will take much more though to even begin to break the market share Google now has.

  4. hi dude, you are wrong if you try to compare bing with google. Why u ask? let me explain here. As we all know, Google has Googleplex in which all database of the entire websites is stored, and u know, in parallel computing, googleplex is the best one, due to its customized system , and Bing, it’s nothing…….

    • You can compare Google and Bing on many fronts, but to suggest that Google is much better because of “the Googleplex” is better is ridiculous. Does Bing return results more slowly than Google? No. I am much more concerned with the quality of the search results, and the usability of the site, for which Google is still god enough for me.

      • Well the fact that they have so much processing power can mean that (assuming they have relatively similar performing algorithms) they can return better results in the same amount of time, instead of returning the same results in less time.

  5. I’ve tried to type “GIMP” in Bing and it didn’t give me anything on the left side, but Google gave me all useful links below the main link on like “Downloads”, “For Windows”, “For Mac OS X”, “Tutorials”. What i am doing wrongly?

    • I second that. My results from Google contained download links and plenty of other helpful stuff at the very top. In fact the search results were nearly identical, but I’ll give Google the slight win because it has the wikipedia entry for “GIMP” at a lower spot than Bing (if I wanted the wikipedia GIMP article, I would have searched the wikipedia, damnit).
      As for the companies Google acquired search, Google wins there too. It returns a link to the wikipedia article “List of acquisitions by Google” (yeah its the wikipedia, but at least the title isn’t exactly the same as the search term, so they did some work there), followed by Google’s press center. Bing utterly failed at that, with the plain old “Google” wikipedia entry at the top, and the “List of acquisitions by Google” second.
      Just for kicks, I searched “Which is better, Bing or Google” on both. I’d have to say, Google wins again. It offers a bunch of Google vs Bing comparisons at the top, while Bing offered two copies on the same article on “Is Bing Making Google Better?”, one of which is the top entry. -1 point for the duplicate articles, and -1 point for an article on a different topic than what I was searching for as the top result.