Of course, to “google” something has become synonymous with the mere act of searching something on the Internet, but that hasn’t stopped other companies from developing their search programs. Last week, Microsoft rebranded their Live.com search engine as the curiously titled Bing. How does it hold up?
After a few matched test searches, Bing is a decent search engine; its results are relatively similar to Google’s for most searches. The site provides an auto-suggest before you search, terms to search within your results on the left bar, and related searches on the right side. Image and video searches are included when appropriate, though be careful what videos you’re searching for because the results auto-play when you mouse over them. If you mouse over the right side of a search result, a nifty summary box will pop-up. Also, the home page features a daily rotating wallpaper with related facts, which is certainly interesting if not entirely necessary. In essence, you could probably do worse than Bing.
As for real advantages to using Bing though, we found none. The subpage links that Google provided are certainly much more useful than Bing’s. A search for “iPhone” on Google turned up the Apple page, the Wikipedia page, shopping results, and video results. Bing’s results had images, but its suggested related searches were “iPhones software” and “iPhones accessories,” which basically made the results feel spammy and dirty, not to mention grammatically incorrect.
When I “binged” myself “" don’t you see how odd that sounds, Microsoft? “" we had to get to the fourth page before there was a web result related to me. Googling us turned up our Google profile on the front page. Google also found our Twitter before Bing did. Granted, we have a name that’s relatively common in the Western Hemisphere, and we haven’t really done anything to merit much Internet fame, so your mileage may vary. And yes, we know, searching for yourself isn’t the most necessary use for a search engine, but it is fun, and everyone does it anyway, so the search engine we use should do it right.
Overall, to us, Google wins on the sheer integration it has with all of its services. When one search turns up images, videos, a stock quote, a search within the site box, and considers my vast search history, searches my desktop and my email, all on top of good results from the Web at large, what use is there for another search engine? Google also has a decent partnership with many social networking sites that return results from those sites. With your Internet identity becoming almost as important as your real one, this is quite a boon.
Maybe Bing will prove useful one day when Google fails us or to those who don’t know how to reset their default search engine in Internet Explorer, but until then, we won’t hold our breath.