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Bing! Google’s Still the Best

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Nifty gadgets and cool homepages don’t make for a sexy search engine. Relevant results do

If you use any of Microsoft’s products with even limited frequency, you’ve probably met Bing, Microsoft’s latest salvo in the search engine wars. This writer decided to put the new kid on the block to the test.

Go to Bing.com and the first thing you’ll notice is the beautiful background image. It changes every day. Each image is embedded with hotspots that you can click to search for different content related to the photo. It’s an interesting little tactic Microsoft hopes will give us all a reason to visit daily. That said, better search results is a better reason. On that crucial count, does Bing deliver?

Purposefully, this writer misspelt his name for ‘Bing’ and ‘Google’ to find. What happened? The former delivered nonsense, while Google asked if this writer meant this writer (spelled right) and delivered perfect results despite the badly misspelt search. Thanks to Google and spell checks, this writer is, anyway, one lazy speller. So when he proceeded to search for ‘rooling spone’, Google thought, correctly, ‘Rolling Stone’. Bing, on the other search, returned ‘Sponge iron plants in India’. Bing did ask if this writer meant ‘rolling stone’, but only at the bottom of a page full of useless results. Most user-unfriendly. And very MS, I suppose. The ‘did you mean’ question should come at the top of the page. By putting it way down below, ‘Bingers’ are forced to look at a whole lot of links that lead to commercial sites. Sneaky.

Next, I Binged ‘fear and loathing in las vegas + rolling stone review’. I meant, the film review, but didn’t include ‘movie’. Google returned links to four non-commercial pages of relevant content and then the Amazon page hawking the book/movie. And Bing? The first link was identical with Google’s, but the next four were commercial sites that encouraged Bingers to ‘buy now!’ Tsk, tsk.

Bing accomplishes only one thing better than Google. It eliminates the need to click on a link to find out more about it by giving you a brief synopsis of the page when you ‘mouse-over’ the link. This writer found it a most useful feature and thinks people with slow Internet connections will too.

The verdict: Google