Microsoft has its work cut out for it with its provocative "Bing It On" search challenge. Say this three times to a co-worker, and gauge the reaction: "People prefer Bing over Google for the Web's top searches." Skeptical, most likely.
The words are Microsoft's tag line in a marketing campaign for Bing, the No. 2 search engine after Google.
Google had 67% market share in July, compared with 18% for Bing, according to measurement firm ComScore Media Metrix. But its influence is growing: Bing provides search results made with the Siri digital assistant on iPhone and iPad, and search for Facebook and Yahoo.
Meanwhile, Google recently celebrated its 15th birthday by announcing refinements in its search engine, so we staged our own "Bing It On" test and took a dive into search-land.
First, the bottom line: Bing is way, way better than you might think, vastly improved since its 2009 launch. It's a very respectable second opinion, and if you were forced to only use Bing, you'd be well served.
But Google is, well, Google -- home of the driverless car, Internet-connected glasses and very simply, the greatest search engine ever. It is not just a way of life for most computer users, it is also -- at least for this columnist -- far ahead of Microsoft, especially in mobile .
Both Google and Bing get the majority of results from links -- the more folks point to an article or Web site, the more likely it is to be at the top of results. Both tap into the vast array of online databases -- Wikipedia, IMDb, YouTube, Amazon and elsewhere -- to add information.
Google's newly enhanced results also look at what it calls the "Knowledge Graph," a massive database with 570 million items, connected 18 billion ways, according to Google.
The results understand questions -- "What time is it in Tokyo?" -- and conversations that begin with a question and continue with follow-up queries you can ask in shorthand.
For instance, we asked Google to show us photos of the Eiffel Tower, and continued with "What year was it built?" and "Where is it?" Google got all three on the money.
It can now do comparisons -- "What's the difference between olive oil and butter?" -- and show the calories, carbs and total fat for each.
Additionally, the Knowledge Graph pulls from various Google tools, if you're signed into Google. (continued...)
© 2013 USA TODAY under contract with YellowBrix. All rights reserved.
Posted: 2013-10-22 @ 2:43pm PT
@Genesis: I agree with you! I think it's appalling that Google thinks it can put your face with their ads, for virtually any kind of product, without (1) permission and (2) payment! They're really overstepping their bounds with this. Actually, I think Facebook may do the same thing. Not cool!!!
Posted: 2013-10-22 @ 2:34pm PT
What people don't realize when they use ANY Google service is that they give up a huge amount of privacy by doing so. Google's practice of using its customers' details and information should be concerning to anyone. Their recent changes actually have advertisements with your and your friends Facebook pictures acting as spokesmen for products. How would you like your picture to be shown to your Google using Facebook friends with a tag line like "John Doe uses Depends brand adult diapers. Click this link to view best prices near you!" Now realize that Google has made this an "Opt-out" instead of an Opt-In process, meaning that unless you have specifically turned this OFF in your Google preferences, it's already set to do this with your Google Account. Gee, thanks Google!
Posted: 2013-10-22 @ 2:06am PT
First of all Bing name sucks. Bing sucks in long tail search and Google still shows more relevant results, especially when I logged to my Google account.
Posted: 2013-10-22 @ 1:19am PT
I tried Bing and it failed me miserably every time. Not a chance against Google search. G Search is very fast and accurate.
Posted: 2013-10-09 @ 5:32am PT
I like Bing because Google automatically changes the language based on the city I am visiting. I do not speak Spanish or Russian, only English; yet, Google makes it difficult to change to my native language. Bing provides me everything that Google claims to provide. NO CONTEST, I go for BING.