Microsoft introduced an interesting blind “taste test” challenge yesterday. Microsoft’s Bing It On challenge is a geeky version of the Stork SB margarine tests starring Leslie Crowther. The startling findings of the research are that “People choose Bing web search results over Google nearly 2 to 1 in blind comparison tests.”
Google is the dominant search engine, users seem to like it and trust it, it has now even become a verb which trips off the tongue extremely easily, even if you don’t actually use Google to do your search. Currently the search market share of Google is 66.7 per cent compared to Bing’s 15.4 per cent. Bing was launched by Microsoft in 2009 and the company has put a lot of money behind the search engine without reaping many rewards, as yet.
The 2 to 1 blind test figure comes from an expanded version of the Bing It On search challenge you and I can take. The blind test research was undertaken by Answers, a third party company. A thousand US users over 18 took a Bing It On challenge with 10 searches rather than the five in the public test. These results gave Bing a winning percentage of 57.4 per cent. Almost 2 to 1. The Microsoft blog says “Given those findings, Bing decided it is time to let people see for themselves that there is a better option in search.” Unfortunately for UK folk, any shopping result prices offered by either search engine in the test are in dollars. That might have affected my Bing It On judgements.
Mike Nichols, corporate vice president and chief marketing officer of Bing said “It’s time to break the Google habit and learn why you deserve more from your search engine.” He explained that “Relevancy of search results is the No. 1 driver of search engine preference, and independent research shows that people chose Bing’s Web search results over Google’s nearly 2-to-1.” If you are into social networking Bing “also includes useful information from your friends and experts from Facebook, Twitter, Quora, Foursquare and more, which is not available on Google,” he said.
Proof of the pudding
I have tried the Bing It On test (screenshot above), it’s a very quick test and definitely worth a couple of minutes of time. However in my results Google got a big win. Of my five searches Google won four blind choices and I thought one was a draw. The decisions were very close though, and as an imperfect human being I might have skewed the results somehow or had some subconscious agenda. My first two search choices “guitar design” and “Taiwanese cooking” are terms I aim to score highly for in two websites I run. I picked the results where my web sites scored highly… Also my fourth search of “The Outer Limits” was a definite Google win because of the YouTube videos featured in the results. Perhaps I will take a rematch…
What are other HEXUS user’s results?