Why I switched to Bing

Summary:I've been using Google since its early days, back when Yahoo was still a good place to search. Yet switching to Bing as my default search engine has been a real pleasure. Here's why.

I've been using Google since its early days, back when Yahoo was still a good place to search. Yet switching to Bing as my default search engine has been a real pleasure. Here's why.

Search is a natural outgrowth of massive storage. If you can't find it, it's as if you'd never stored it.

What about the search results? Short answer: no difference that I've noticed. Maybe the order is different, but I'm not about to do a side-by-side comparison.

Why? Because my criterion for results is simple: do I get results I can use or not?

I do dozens of searches a day, often on arcane storage, academic and public policy topics. Either the results tell me what I want to know or they don't.

Verdict: I can't tell the difference between Bing and Google results.

10 years ago Google was an obvious improvement over Yahoo and Alta Vista, an earlier favorite. Today comprehensive search results are a commodity.

Then why switch? It's the little things.

Preferences that work. I like 30-50 results on a page, not 10. That stopped working on Google some months ago. Yes, I searched - on Google - for an answer and tried a couple of things, but no joy.

I also like shopping results in a grid, not a list. That also stopped working, so now I have to click on the grid option every time. I looked for a preference to change that but again, no joy.

Easier to use maps. Living in a small isolated town I go a lot of places I've never been before. Google Maps is good, but Bing maps drop into a close-up of the address, rather than a distant view.

I still end up clicking out or in to get more info, but its fewer clicks with Bing. It would be better if there were a preference to set initial map scale though.

Getting directions is more obvious as well. You don't have to go to the map and then click "directions" - you can do enter your start address from the results page.

Oddly, Bing does seem to insist on a state in the address before it puts up a map - even if the results show it "knows" what state the address is in.

It's a little thing - and it works.

More functional design. The use of white space is, IMHO, makes Bing look and work better. Results are more easily scanned and options are clearer.

I find what I'm looking for faster. That's the idea, isn't it?

The Storage Bits take I wasn't looking to change search preferences, but then a resolutely non-techie friend said she'd switched. "Why?" I asked.

She said she found Bing easier. That always gets my attention. Isn't that what computers are for?

So I tried it. It's easy on Firefox and Safari to switch. And she was right.

This is what competition is all about. Google can get me back, but they've got a lot of work to do.

Comments welcome, of course. Google's UI design process is broken. Will new CEO Page fix it?

Update: I'm not alone. From Friday's WSJ, Comscore: Microsoft's Bing Gains Share

. . . Microsoft's Bing search engine climbed to 13.1% of the U.S. search market in January from 12% in December, while Google declined to 65.6% in January from 66.6% in December. . . .

End update.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Google, Hardware, Storage


Robin Harris is Chief Analyst at TechnoQWAN LLC, a storage research and consulting firm he founded in 2005. Based in Sedona, Arizona, TechnoQWAN focuses on emerging technologies, products, companies and markets. Robin has over 35 years experience in the IT industry and earned degrees from Yale and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.