I decided today to give the Bing search engine another try. I had tried it first launched and I wasn’t happy. While the result generally were pretty good, they were not targeted enough, and even when they were, the targeting was inconsistent. I intended to give Bing a full week then, but I only made it 6 of the 7 days. It was enough for me. I resorted back to the infamous Google. It has been a long time, so it’s only fair to try it again. Today is day one, and I will be doing this for 7 days. Here’s a review of the problems I’ve had.
I am only going to report the problems I’ve had. That being said, you can be pretty sure that I use a search engine anywhere from 20-100 or more times per day. So keep that in mind when reading. It will give this review more context.
Going into this, I didn’t expect for my testing and results to be so different. I really did expect for both search engines to be comparable. Day one proved to be surprising to say the least.
I was researching “earth day events” today for my weekly green chat. I was expecting to receive a list of results containing websites that had Earth Day events listed on them, or sites that offer advice about Earth Day events. This was an interesting test. In this case, both search engines get a partial FAIL from me, with Bing slightly edging out Google for the higher level of failure.
The first result on Bing was for a site called Earth Day 2010 – EnviroLink Resource Guide (http://earthday.envirolink.org/). While this site does indeed have an area and search on their site for Earth Day events, there is not a single event listed on their entire site. I would think that the search engines would have enough logic to figure this out for us and drop the relevance of such a site using the search terms I did. The only reason Google won here is because they listed this same site as the second result, and not the first like Bing.
Quite often I will find myself needing to reference something on my website. In order to do this, I use the search terms, “[keywords] site:willstrohl.com” and I usually see exactly what I am looking for. Today, this search consisted of “tea maker site:willstrohl.com” as I wanted to see what came up. I have the tea maker in my office, but this is a great test for my experiment. The results of this were disturbingly different.
Google gave me exactly what I wanted, and nothing more. I couldn’t have asked for a better search result set.
Bing, however, didn’t give me what I wanted or expected at all. In fact, the page I was looking for on my own site was not in the search results at all. All I received were archive pages from my blog calendar.
Bing clearly failed here. I was very disappointed here. I fully expected for the results to be a mirror image. However, the other part that was the most disappointing to me was the integrated shopping search results in Bing. Why in the world would an end-user expect or want to see that in a website specific search???
There is a site that I rarely use. I frequent it about once every other month. It is a site that backs up my tweets from twitter. Because of this, I have a difficult time remembering the site name and domain name. I should probably bookmark the site, but for one reason or another, I just never have. I have always known in the back of my mind that a quick search would bring it up on the first couple of results. This was another instance where I was surprised. On both search engines, I searched for “tweet backup.”
Google did what I always see it do. It gave me the site I was looking for near the top of the search results. I highlighted the site in red below:
Bing once again disappointed me. That site wasn’t on the first page of search results at all, much less near the top. Instead, I found it near the bottom of the second page of search results. This would be sad for me for any search engine, since I rarely venture past the first page of results. It also confused me to see the twitter home page to be listed as a result for those keywords. I cannot think of any reason that would have enough relevance to be the 4th search result out of every web page in the world once the word “backup” is in the query.
That’s it for today. Everything else was pretty much expected. The only time I directly compared Google with Bing is when the results looked out of place, or I couldn’t find what I was looking for. That being said, most of the day, I stayed on Bing. While that sounds like a win for Bing, in comparison, I cannot think of the last time I left Google to go to another search engine to find something when it was my default search engine.
Let’s see what happens for the rest of the 7 days…