Microsoft and Yahoo have teamed up to challenge the search engine giant Google. Their recently unveiled search engine, Bing, hopes to chip away at Google’s dominant market share. I have to admit that Bing’s home page is prettier than Google’s, but is that enough? I did a very simple comparison test and here are my preliminary findings. I did a simple search for “health care reform” on both Google and Bing. Google returned approximately 21 million hits. Bing returned an astounding 83 million hits (give or take a hundred thou). At one level, that is impressive, but who on earth is ever going to check out 21 million hits, much less 83 million! Not anyone. [“According to a recent study from iProspect, three-quarters of Internet users use search engines. However, 16 percent of Internet users only look at the first few search results, while 32 percent will read through to the bottom of the first page.” http://www.resourceshelf.com/2002/11/18/search-habits-of-web-searchers/] A third only read to the bottom of the page. That’s between 10 to 25 results. Out of 21 million. So, Bing produced 61,999,975 more results that I won’t read than Google.
They both offer advanced search capability. Here, I think Google has a definite advantage. Both advanced search options allow one to limit searches by language, country of origin, and domain. But Google allows limiting by location of search terms (anywhere in the page, in the title, in the links to the page, etc.), by time span (past 24 hours, past week, past month, etc.), and by document type (PDF, Word document, rich text file, to name a few). Using those Google advanced search limits (my search phrase in the title, items posted in the last week, in english, in the U.S.) pared my results down to 73,600 hits. Still far too many to check out completely, but a substantial reduction. Adding a document type (PDF) to the search brought the results down to a very manageable 30 hits.
Bottom line: they are very similar and both work reasonably well. Google is more robust, in terms of advanced search capabilities, so as a hard core researcher, I’d choose Google when I needed a general, non-proprietary search engine. Bing seems more suited to casual, non-work related websurfing. (PRM)