Bing vs Google Taste Test

September 20, 2012

Like a Coke versus Pepsi taste test in a 1980s mall, Microsoft has set up Bing It On, a Bing versus Google blind comparison Web site. The first time through, I chose Bing’s results over Google’s twice out of five times, and rated the engines as tied the other three. I experienced no Googley advantages at all. But then, I tried it a second time. Google three, Bing one, a draw once. I guess it depends on what you’re searching for.

In its blog post, “People Chose Bing Web Search Results Over Google Nearly 2:1 in Blind Comparison Tests—Really?” Bing explains that they launched the comparison site in response to its own surprisingly favorable test results. They also say that, in a blind test performed by independent research company Answers Research, which used a representative online sample of almost 1,000 people 18 and up from across the US, Bing outperformed Google two to one. (Survey takers were not told Microsoft was involved in the study.) The write up’s description of that test is very close to what you’ll see at Bing It On:

“In the test, participants were shown the main web search results pane of both Bing and Google for 10 search queries of their choice. Bing and Google search results were shown side-by-side on one page for easy comparison – with all branding removed from both search engines. The test did not include ads or content in other parts of the page such as Bing’s Snapshot and Social Search panes and Google’s Knowledge Graph. For each search, the participant was asked which search engine provided the best results – ‘Left side search engine’, ‘Right side search engine’, or ‘Draw.’ After each participant performed 10 searches, their votes were totaled to determine the winner (Bing, Google or Draw, in the case of a tie).”

The overall sampling error rate was plus or minus 3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. They say their results were a clear win for Bing, which garnered 57.4 percent of the vote, compared to 30.2 percent for Google and 12.4 percent resulting in a tie. That’s not exactly what I experienced, but perhaps you should try the test for yourself; you might be surprised.

Cynthia Murrell, September 20, 2012

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