Thursday, September 06, 2012

Microsoft Directly Challenges Google With "Bing It On" Challenge

Microsoft has laid down the gauntlet and directly challenged Google users to a test to see how well their Bing search results fair against Google's. This completely non-scientific, very subjective online test, is designed to show off search results from both Bing and Google side-by-side and let users choose for themselves which results they think look better or are more relevant.

Here’s how it works – go to and conduct five search queries of your choice and compare the unbranded web search results from Bing and Google side by side. For each search result, you choose a winner or declare it a “draw.” After completing your five searched the test shows you which search engine you picked for each search and shows you an overall of which one you chose the most.

The point of the test is Microsoft's own citing of surveys which reportedly show people chose Bing nearly 2:1 in blind comparison tests.

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.

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).

When the results were tallied, the outcome was clear – people chose Bing web search results over Google nearly 2:1 in the blind comparison tests. Specifically, of the nearly 1000 participants: 57.4% chose Bing more often, 30.2% chose Google more often; 12.4 % resulted in a draw.

I took the test and should note that I chose Google every single time. I'm not certain if it was because I may have known the difference between the two and could have been slightly bias or if it was that I truly like Google more. Google has been my default search engine for years and while I haven't gotten on-board with all the changes they've made over the years for the most part I think it still does a better job than most.

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