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Google vs. Bing — a Quasi-Empirical Study 356

Posted by timothy
from the unbearable-lightness-of-bing dept.
eko3 writes "SearchEngineLand.com is featuring an article that compares Google's result query relevance performance to Microsoft's Bing. Through the author's methodology and very small sampling, he argues Bing returns slightly more relevant results than Google. The article suggests that Google is riding its current market success based on its legacy namesake when internet search used to be a lot more painful than it is today."
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Google vs. Bing — a Quasi-Empirical Study

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  • by nlawalker (804108) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @04:28PM (#34867376)

    I agree with the notion that Google is riding it's legacy of taking search from something that was literally an impossible problem to solve to something that was instant. It earned every bit of that, but search has entered a new era.

    Bing is now competing at the forefront, which is taking search from finding results in an index to finding answers to questions and solving problems. "Decision engine" is a bit overhyped, but it's the right direction to move in, in my opinion. This is a good thing, because Bing and Google will push each other.

    I generally refer friends and people I know to Bing because they tend to treat search engines like a natural language processor, or as a companion that can help them answer questions and solve problems.

    Google is still (much) more effective if your Google-fu is powerful, but if it's not, Bing can be a bit friendlier and better at getting you to what you want to see.

  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @04:29PM (#34867396) Homepage

    But I still don't know how to change the water filter [google.com] on a Frigidaire Professional Series [bing.com].

    For some reason, they gave Bing 7 points for that query.

    But the first result merely regurgitates the question, then has an ad link for Fixya.com.

  • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @04:33PM (#34867472) Journal
    You know all other things being equal, MS has less motivation to violate my privacy than Google does, as selling my data to advertisers isn't their primary source of revenue. For that reason alone, I look more favourably on Bing than Google search. But that said, both search engines seem to bring me equivalent results most of the time. Certainly they both normally get me the results that I want and you can't really get any better result from a search engine. I also like Bing's image results and page previews and generally nice to look at layout. I swap back to Google when I need to search news groups.

    But when you say "the market will decide" you have to ask yourself which market, because Google are able to leverage their online services to boost Google search in a way that MS aren't able to do as well by leveraging their desktop products. In other words, Google has more relevant markets to provide synergy to each other. (A bit like MS once did with browsers and operating systems).
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @04:37PM (#34867540) Homepage

    For about the first half of 2008, Yahoo search was better than Google search.

    Yahoo introduced specialized subengines - stocks, weather, movies, celebrities - which were triggered by matching queries. Each subengine had a special case for that class of information. Yahoo had about fifty such subengines.

    Nobody noticed. Yahoo's market share didn't move. I only knew about this because I went to a talk by the head of Yahoo R&D at the time.

    Bing's strategy seems to be mostly to follow Google. Google put Google Places into web search (a big mistake [sitetruth.com], because Places is so easy to spam), and Bing followed within days.

    This week, everybody from Techdirt to CNN is dumping on Google for their spam problem. Even Paul Krugman at the New York Times mentioned it. There's much blog talk of "human powered search" or "curated search" to stop the spam but the failure of Wikia Search, and the lack of interest in ChaCha, Swicki, and Rollyo, indicates that's a dead end. (Mahalo started as human-powered search and ended up as a content farm, which is a hint that "human powered" doesn't equate to "better". No complaints from search users about that, though.)

    (Note: I have a position in this; I run SiteTruth [sitetruth.com]. There, we try to find the business behind the web site, and rate that, using data from the SEC, BBB, D&B, and other hard data sources about businesses. This works well at eliminating spam. Too well for some sites; we get complaints about our hard-ass "when in doubt, rate it down" approach.)

  • not for my searches (Score:5, Interesting)

    by siddesu (698447) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @04:38PM (#34867550)

    I use about six languages on a daily basis and IMHO bing sucks at everything that isn't English.

  • Attorney Tom Brady (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Col. Klink (retired) (11632) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @04:53PM (#34867806)

    Bing scored 62 and google 53. Google lost 5 points because it didn't find an attorney named Tom Brady and Bing gained 5 points because they found it. Remove this one query and google actually wins by a point.

    But what google does really well is get current results. Search for "attorney tom brady" now and you will find TFA on google, but not on bing.

  • by mordero (1118893) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @04:55PM (#34867846)

    Google is still #1 because people tried Bing and found it wanting. I did, the first day it was out.

    Isn't that the point being made? When Bing was first launched Google may have had better results, but now Bing is catching up with Google and (maybe?) surpassing it in terms of relevancy. Google is slow on adjusting its algorithm since some/most/all people have the perception that it is better than Bing and since those people never go back to try Bing again, Google has little need to adapt as quickly.

  • by jbeaupre (752124) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @04:58PM (#34867896)

    I guess not many people used it, but AltaVista Personal did an amazing job of indexing and searching local and network files. Faster than any of the "modern" OS integrated offerings I've seen. And without sucking up resources. If there were a version for XP/Vista/Win7 I'd use it in a heartbeat.

  • by ugen (93902) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @05:26PM (#34868418)

    That "current bias" on Google is, imho, more of a liability than an advantage.
    Once any term becomes at least somewhat popular, it also becomes "self-sustaining" on Google - which means that any attempts to look for truly relevant information bring up only more and more recent "meta-discussions".
    This also means that finding anything that hasn't happened recently on Google becomes more and more difficult. Their time-based index is severely broken (showing recent results as if they are from the past etc).

  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @05:36PM (#34868560) Journal

    I try Bing about once a month for a day. I'm constantly changing back to Google to find the results I'm looking for. It isn't for lack of trying, but the result is that I can't stand Bing. I've even begun to suggest that BING stands for "Bing Is Not Google".

  • Re:O No (Score:4, Interesting)

    by the_womble (580291) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @11:27PM (#34873226) Homepage Journal

    Of the three searches he discusses in the article as examples of Bing doing better than Google, I get the same top two results on both search engines for one, and for another he is giving Bing credit for putting two Linkedin pages at the top (not a good thing IMAO) and for the third he thinks that having a keyword stuffed spammy affiliate site, that does not actually have the tickets searched for available, as the first result is better than having an out of date news story.

    If I was scoring it then Google would have won.

    I actually tried using the three major search engines for a few days, using blind search [fejus.com] , at the time Bing came out, and Google was the clear winner then.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

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