Microsoft gussies up Bing News search interface, but still can’t satisfy the ego search

bingnews

Microsoft just redesigned the Bing News search screen so it looks cleaner and simpler on phone and tablet screens. That’s the good news. The bad news (sorry guys) is that Bing News search still lags far behind Google, at least in my opinion. (An informal poll of my GigaOM colleagues netted similar sentiments, but we’re a non-scientific sample.)

The claims that Microsoft makes that Bing outperforms Google (the Bing It On campaign lives on) are just hard to swallow. In February, Microsoft updated the original study which spawned the Bing It On challenge. The updated research contended that more than half (52 percent) of nearly 1,000 participants aged 18 or older, preferred Bing results over Google; 36 percent preferred Google results, and 12 percent found the two engines equal. My personal survey found that of the people I know who tried Bing It On, it lost. And most of them never use Bing for searches. Again, non scientific.

Here’s one idea that would make Bing News, in particular, more valuable for one, albeit small, constituency — bloggers and journalists. Microsoft should include bylines in the search criteria. Every blogger and news writer in the universe — and there quite a few — is always checking search results for their name and Bing just doesn’t do a good job there compared to Google.

Comscore numbers for July show Google holding 67 percent market share in search compared to just under 18 percent for Microsoft; Google’s share rose 0.3 percent compared to the June figures while Microsoft held steady.

An example: I enter a colleague’s name. He does 3 to 5 posts a day (I know, nuts, right?), and the top three Bing News results include a story from August 27, one from May 1, 2009, and another third-party story citing an article he wrote last year. If I navigate to the “past 24 hours” category 4 of his stories pop up. But I’ve already lost interest. A Google News search brings up — bam! — 129 of his most recent stories roughly in order of posting, along with any mention of him in someone else’s story. That is useful to bloggers and reporters.

I know it’s a media bias, but still, it’s an idea. And competition is good for all of us. Thanks for listening.

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