Monday, June 1, 2009

Will You Try Microsoft's Bing Search Engine?

Microsoft's Bing is the latest search engine to challenge to the dominance of Google. In a press release Microsoft describes Bing as:
...a new search experience and consumer brand, outlining a new approach to helping customers use search to make better decisions. This “Decision Engine” approach focuses initially on four key user tasks and related areas: making a purchase, planning a trip, researching a health condition or finding a local business.
For the fun of it, I did a quick search using the keywords "spymaster twitter" to compare results between Google and Bing. I received some strange results:

Top Google hits:
  1. http://www.techcrunch.com - several detailed posts on spymaster
  2. http://playspymaster.com - the actual homepage for Spymaster
  3. http://perth.norg.com.au - people-powered news (problem loading page)
  4. http://internet-games.suite.101 - a quick and dirty review
  5. http://hubpages.com - a quicker and dirtier review
Top Bing hits:
  1. http://twitter.com/seanpercival - twitter tweets
  2. http://twitter.com/briancaldwell - twitter tweets
  3. http://www.techcrunch.com - their first article
  4. http://www..techcrunch.com - their second article
  5. http://explore.twitter.com/seanpercival - same as #1 (I didn't even know their was an "explore" subdomain on Twitter)
I was kind of baffled by Bing's results: links to Twitter users are "pretty much kind of useless don't ya think?" But to be fair, I wouldn't describe Spymaster as a store, a trip, a health condition or a local business.

Moving on to something more relevant, I seached the keyword "diabetes". Here were the results:

Google:
  1. http://www.diabetes.ca
  2. http://wikipedia.org/wiki/diabetes
  3. http://www.hc-sc-gc.ca - Heath Canada information on diabetes
  4. News results - diabetes in the young on the rise...
  5. http://www.diabetes.com
Bing (note, I forced Bing to give me Canadian results):
  1. http://www.diabetes.ca - main page
  2. http://www.diabetes.ca - about diabetes
  3. http://slimband.com/diabetes - a sales pitch for "adjustable gastric banding"
  4. http://diabetesontario.org
  5. http://www.lifestylemakeoverbook.com/diabetes - page not found, main site a sales pitch
Personally, I thought Bing's results sucked. Two of five hits were what I would basically call spam.

But it's the early days, Bing is still a preview, and at least it gave me different results than Google. So the jury is still out. Nevertheless, search engines live-or-die in the early days - remember cuil.com?

What do you think of Microsoft's Bing? Are you going to check it out, or will you stick with Google for now? Tell us what you think on our latest poll on the right and if you think you can explain the strange search results - please take a crack at it in the comments below.

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