Microsoft's 'Bing it on' challenge beats Google's results 2:1

Microsoft's 'Bing it on' challenge beats Google's results 2:1

Summary: Do you use one search engine only and reject all others? Research results commissioned before the launch of Microsoft's 'Bing it on' campaign show that the search results we prefer might not be from the search engine we actually use.

Credit: Bing

Last week the Bing blog announced the launch of the ‘Bing it on’ campaign. The campaign focuses on a competition where search results are displayed side by side for users to choose which results are the most relevant to them. Independent research showed that Bing was beating Google in search relevancy.

“Relevancy of search results is the No. 1 driver of search engine preference, and independent research shows that people chose Bing’s Web search results over Google’s nearly 2-to-1,” according to Mike Nichols, corporate vice president and chief marketing officer of Bing.

Mary Jo Foley’s Bing it on post on CNET notes that Bing has 15 per cent of the U.S. search share which rises to 28 per cent considering that Bing powers Yahoo search.

And share size matters. Not only to advertisers but to Microsoft itself.

A larger share not only increases advertising revenue, but also returns a larger data set which aids machine learning and product feature development.

So a side by side comparison of Bing to Google gives Microsoft extra insight into what results searchers prefer when offered two sets of results.

Side by side

According to the Bing blog:

An independent research company, Answers Research based in San Diego, CA, conducted a study using a representative online sample of nearly 1000 people, ages 18 and older from across the US.

The participants were chosen from a random survey panel and were required to have used a major search engine in the past month. Participants were not aware that Microsoft was involved’.

‘The research shows that people chose Bing web search results over Google nearly 2:1 in blind comparison tests’.

The ‘Bing it on’ campaign challenges searchers in the US to:

‘Conduct five search queries of your choice and compare unbranded Web search results from Bing and Google side by side. For each search result, you choose a winner or declare it a “draw.’ you then get to see which search engine ‘came out on top’.

The campaign is aimed at US users so the results may show significant differences when the campaign is eventually rolled out across other regions throughout the world.

Emotions run high over Bing v’s Google. Most of the comments on Mary Jo’s post favour Google over Bing, some comments rail against Microsoft, malware, privacy, operating systems and monopolies. So why do we have such strong feelings about a search engine?

Old habits?

Google's dominance might be down to our ingrained PC habits. Many PC’s still run the operating system that was sold with it. Consumer users do not tend to upgrade their home systems when a new version appears. We often use the first software tool we have discovered and do not see the need to change.

The same habit might also be applied to Google v’s Bing. Google, which has search share dominance, has been around the longest as a single brand name. ‘To Google’ is now in our lexicon. The name has stayed the same since it was launched in 1998.

Bing, in its current iteration is a relative newcomer. Although MSN Search also launched in 1998, it has been through a number of name changes. MSN Search evolved into Windows Live search, then Live Search before the Bing brand was launched in 2009.

Perhaps confusion over different branding has stopped people from staying loyal to Bing throughout its evolution. Perhaps searchers prefer the stability and ease of accessing the Google name. But 2:1 blind comparison tests can not be lightly dismissed.

Other search platforms, embedded in tools also deliver the results we want.

Facebook search, powered by Bing, gives it a competitive edge that could challenge Google with its focus on personal relevance. Amazon search, brings results based on user recommendations and preferences. Both could be significant future competitors as our search behaviour evolves.

If Microsoft can continue to grow the Bing brand and avoid renaming every time that the online team has a re-org then I think that its market share will continue to grow at the expense of Google.

Google, on the other hand will continue to innovate and improve its product set as the threat to its market dominance and competition increases.

Whatever the result, the consumer will ultimately benefit from whichever company manages to successfully ‘bring it on’.

Topic: Social Enterprise

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  • Not my experience

    I try Bing and I am always forced to go back to Google to get what I was really looking for.
    • Bing needs search by date

      A very useful feature that Google has and Bing should. Give that to me I'd use Bing more.
      • It's there but not advertised.

        Try this: daterange:startdate-enddate in your search
        • This is for Google

          We really really need edit
    • And I have the other experience

      I find Bing to be overwhelmingly more useful. Not just a little, either. But "wow it read my mind" kind of good.
      x I'm tc
    • Try it now and then

      Find it returns far less relevant results and at times returns overwhelming amounts of "crap".
      For those of us who still know how to do search queries, Google is much more effective.
  • Microsoft's 'Bing it on' challenge beats Google's results 2:1

    I have set Bing as my default search a long time ago and always use it haven't had much need for any other search engines. The search results are relevant, not a bunch of spam. Plus the more you search the more reward points you can get.
    Loverock Davidson-
  • Google URLs

    One thing I dislike about Google is that often it no longer returns the URL of the location, instead it returns a huge string that basically says, "We here at Google found this and you can go there by clicking this 'through Google' link."

    If I want a direct link, I often wind up having to pick some unique text from the target and search for that on Bing to get a direct URL.
  • My personal experience differs from their results.

    I agree with Jim. My personal experience differs as well. I use a variety of search engines as part of my job, and google consistently delivers useful results - where the others often fall flat.

    While I certainly don't speak for everyone, the very fact that google continues to dominate suggests that bing simply isn't cutting it for most people who try it.

    Frankly, no amount of 'sponsored studies' ( read : bought and paid for thus returning the results the buyer intended ) will change that. If bing wants to out-compete google they simply have to return results that are better. Right now, for me - and plainly the majority of the client base, they just don't.

    Of course, this is just my $0.02 USD and your milage may vary.

    • Got an example?

      In other words, put your money ($.02) where your mouth is.
      • Oh shut up

        sagec - that is the first challenge out of lazy fanboys.
        Get over yourself and try it.

        btw: JD is right.
        • Ermmm ...

          Actually, when making a fact-based claim, it's perfectly sensible to ask for examples of said claim so that the assertions being made can be tested and examined.

          So, can People claiming that Google gives far better results please give examples of queries where Bing has failed them?
          • easy one:

            bing map directions are perfectly useless
  • and we KNOW MS's challenges aren't bias at all

    just look at the "smoked by windows phone" challenge...............
    • Yep biased

      The problem you always get when one device is demonstrably better. But hey take my picture! Oh you need to turn it on and hit one of those funny dead icons and wait do you? Find me a picture - oh you need to know which app took it?

      Or are you suggesting the challenges were all faked - gee those actors were good at appearing real then...

      Facts are always a problem aren't they?
      • what?

        What kind of phone are you using without a central gallery? Can't be one running Android. If these are the hi lights of WP then I see why its not selling. Pictures of your pocket are not much of a feature.
  • I want to like Bing

    But I don't like the result page. Ads on top and on the right side makes the page feels too crowded.

    Because of that I barely ever spent enough time on it to know if the results are better.
    • AdBlock

      Is truly your friend. Block 'em all and let God sort 'em out.
      • Not for me

        It's because people use AdBlock and other similar add-ons that we, regular users are stuck seeing more and more ads to compensate for others not seeing them.

        If everybody would be blocking ads, a lot of sites would just die. Even though ads sometimes annoy me, it's there for the survival of sites...

        But clearly MS doesn't need so much, they're rich enough! And even though the ads on the Bing result page are just text, there is still too much of them. Google just have 2 or 3 "Sponsored links" at the top, that is enough.

        Anyway, when there are too much "ad links" or "sponsored links" as Google call them that just make them not stand out. If I were an advertiser I wouldn't want to pay for my ad (or sponsored link) to show in the middle of a full columns of ads!
  • M$ can't win against google

    when FOSS powers your software, you always win!
    $hills should not apply!
    LlNUX Geek