Bing It On

Are you a Google or a Bing person? Most people are one or the other, and will vehemently defend their choice of search engine when questioned. But what if you woke up one morning and realised you’re actually a Bing person, not a Google person, and you don’t rate your choice of search engine as highly as you think? This is precisely what is happening to people all over the world this week as Bing is on a mission to raise awareness of their underdog status.

According to independent research, in a blind comparison test you’d probably prefer Bing over Google. Answers Research conducted the survey with 1000 participants from the US aged 18 and over who had used a search engine in the past 12 months. Each person was asked to provide 10 search queries, and the results were shown side by side, with all branding, social and Knowledge graph information removed. They were not told the aim, or of any companies involved, they were simply asked to decide which search results they prefer, or to declare it a draw.

Of the 1000 participants 57.4 percent preferred Bing’s results, with only 30.2 percent preferring Google’s SERPs. Microsoft is now inviting users to take the test for themselves and see the results side my side. There are 5 rounds where you will be asked to rate results based on the suggested search terms, or enter your own. I have to admit, I preferred Google both times I tried this, but it was difficult deciding; if I’d been quicker to choose the results would have likely varied. (Also, SEOs are likely to skew the data, as they can probably spot the differences from 50 meters away.)

This research goes to show the extent to which habit alone can influence our decisions online. As Microsoft wrote in their blog:

Why did we think a blind comparison test of the pure web search results would be valuable? Because it is the best way to really test the quality of web search results where the majority of clicks occur – without the influence of the ingrained, habitual impact of the Google brand. Now you know there is a better alternative to Google.

It will be interesting to see if there is an influx of new Bing users following this campaign. Could “Google it” soon be replaced with “Bing it”? I remember hearing “Bing it” on a popular American TV Show and thinking, “that will never catch on”. Maybe I was wrong…