“Bing it on” is a campaign by Microsoft’s Bing challenging users to compare Bing and Google in a blind search test. A derivation of the “Pepsi Challenge” this appears to be an initiative to wrest market share from Google, who has a commanding 67% / 28% lead in share of market.
“Bing it on” scared me a little bit
I hate Bing with extraordinary vitriol. ”Bing it on” not withstanding, I find it inexcusable that Bing has unprecedented access to a wealth of social information and consistently returns irrelevant results. I was mortified at the possibility that this “test” might show that I am a hypocrite (at least moreso than I usually am). After all that has come between us, could “bing it on” make me a Bing convert?
Here are my results:
For my first query I searched myself. My preference was for the search engine that returned my site in the second position. Despite the fact that there are a surprising number of Jim Doughertys in the world, it makes a lot of sense to me that I should land on the SERP where I devote the majority of my resources online.
For my second query, I searched for “social media marketing.” I was turned off by the engine that returned recent news above actual content, and also aesthetically appreciated Scott Monty’s picture next to his post.
For my third query, I thought that I would look up something similarly topical and looked up “Twitter third party.” I thought that the left query was more topical to what I wanted to see.
For my fourth query, I searched for my favorite singer Joan Osborne. The quality of the search was comparable, but I gave the engine on the right the benefit of the doubt because I found it aesthetically pleasing to see Joan’s picture next to her Wikipedia entry.
Finally, I thought I would look up “Bing” for my final query. I found the engine on the right to provide a more thorough exploration of all things Bing.
….and with that my “Bing it on” experience was over. Did Bing win me over?
Phew. Yes, in one of life’s little ironies – Bing looks best to me when I am considering it in a Google search.
“Bing it on” isn’t a great comparison
The “Bing it on” campaign is kind of clever but not representative of a typical search. One of the caveats of the “study“ was that respondents were shown results from each engine that weren’t personalized. Since all search is flavored by locality, previous searches and social signals – results of these searches are quite different than what a user would typically experience with these engines.
What “Bing it on” does showcase is how aesthetically different the two engines are. Despite Bing’s assertion that 57% of users prefer Bing, it’s difficult for me to believe that people with technical aptitude could prefer Bing. Google just seems like a more put-together product.
Of course, I prefer Pepsi too. So, maybe I’m more susceptible to the “Bing it on” marketing than I let on.
Rich snippets and Rel=Auth are pretty cool features of Google search
As a postscript, I should mention that one of the things that “Bing it on” showcased for me is how little things like Google’s rich snippets and authorship attribution enhance the search experience. Coupled with tactful way that they’ve been able to incorporate +1 social signals into personalized search, it seems apparent that Google has a better sense of direction that Bing right now.
That could all change, though. And “Bing it on” showcases the fact that there isn’t so much difference between the two search engines.