Google Search vs Bing

For about over a week now, I set Bing as my main search engine for Chrome. I’ve been a very “anti-bing, let me keep my google” person but now that i’ve experienced it so thoroughly, I may have changed my mind. Let’s do a break down of these two awesome search engines.

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Before I Start

Okay, before i get too into it, you’ll see some changes that you may not notice in your own browser. Let’s start with the basics:

  • I have an evernote extension installed that pulls up relevant notes
  • I’m logged into Windows Live (for Bing) and Google+ (for Google Search)
  • The right side of the screen in the screenshots above has my account picture, points (in Bing), and notifications (in Google)

Main Interface

As far as the interface goes, both search engines are pretty much the same with a few KEY differences.

Google

  •  Sidebar of goodies you can search through : everything, images, maps, videos, etc. and shows my location
  • “Personal Results” based on Google+
  • Personal vs Global results toggle
  • Bar up top features everything imaginable you could search through/access via google (drive, youtube, news etc.)
  • Safe search toggle
  • G+ notification interface
  • icon for voice search
  • comment counts etc. for personalized results

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Bing

  • thin choice navigation above search bar featuring only web/images/videos/maps
  • right “account information” showing my picture and points
  • facebook integration via right-hand-side sidebar with my friends’ searches and results

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There are some minor changes between the two that both have. I appreciate bing’s side “related searches” sidebar which Google employs as a footer on the bottom instead which Bing also has to reinforce options. I don’t really use it but it’s good to know it’s there and that I can use it on occassion. Same goes with ad placement. Overall, I like bing better because it has much LESS clutter than Google has right now. Google has a million services it tries to shove down your throat, EVERYWHERE but Bing doesn’t. It doesn’t try to get you to msn.com for news, or hotmail for email, or microsoft.com to buy windows, or whatever else. It just searches, and gives you points instead of trying to distract you. I find myself overwhelmed by the amount of stuff there.

On the other hand, Bing is SO white and empty. I wish they would tone their design with some grey/off-white color like Google did, just to have it burn your eyes less.

winner: Bing. Despite its burning colors, it’s less distracting and gets to the point. I wish they would improve some of its design elements.

Search Results

I find myself conflicted here. The search results are pretty interesting though. I find myself liking Google results much better. I don’t have a specific metric but I FEEL like Google’s results are spot-on while Bing’s aren’t. It could be that Google has years worth of data on my search results and Bing only has a weeks-worth of my random crap :)

edit: it’s been a  couple of months since I’ve written this article. Bing is still not as precise but mainly on articles and searches I’ve used Google for. Google automatically pulls up the links I’ve clicked on and makes them available. Bing doesn’t have this data

The number of results (in the hundred thousands) changes from engine to engine. If you check out the screenshots, you’ll see abrupt differences, in millions.

winner: Google. After a few months or so of using Bing and Google back-and-forth, I still feel like Google has the more precise results. I can’t be a 100% sure and I don’t have a metric for it either.

Image Search Interface

This one was the most surprising one from the lot. I’m definitely not used to the Bing way of showing images. Here’s the results page:

search engine image interface comparison

So above, you can see how the search results can REALLY differ, otherwise, interface is similar. Google tries to piece images together and pack them according to their native size. Bing has a straightforward grid that they place an image into. The options are nearly identical, with google prevailing using their bad ass “type” algorithm and Bing catching up by collapsing all the useless crap none of us actually use (other than size, that one should ALWAYS be opened up).

  • Google has all the options opened (making it a bit messy)
  • Bing has all the options collapsed (restricting access to some of the popular options)
  • Both engines have the “color” selection
  • Google can search by time (past 24 hours, past week)
  • Bing can recognize people and distinguish if just their faces are showing or their heads and shoulders
  • The layout on Bing is grid based, Google’s is more flexible (with uneven number of images in each row)
  • Bing offers extra “related topics” that Google does not
  • huge plus Bing’s interface only scrolls images, the top bar, and sidebar stay in place!
winner: preference. I do like Bing’s interface a lot. The grid system for showing images is not ideal but I think that’s just my designer mind being spoiled by the likes of Pinterest. Hopefully they will update this. Bing has a lot on Google in the click-through department so I’ll call this a draw.

Image Viewing

This is by far the biggest difference between the two platforms. See for yourself:

I sear ched for “blah” above and here are the results (bing on left, google on right):

  •  Google shows image in the middle (scaled) and offers “full sized” image and link to the website on the right in a white sidebar. The original website can be seen in the back
  • Bing shows you the image and also a carousel above with the other searched images that you can quickly click through, related searches on the right (and other info), and the original site iframed below

The consensus? I’m not sure. Bing’s seems more usable but I’m used to Google’s clean, non-distracting image viewing interface. Bing wants you to click all over the place but google doesn’t. Not sure how i feel about it right now.

My personal feelings

It’s like browsers. Both do their jobs, both work pretty well, both will get you the info you need and all that matters is interface preference. Why do I use Chrome? Is it the best? Idk, but I like the interface and I like the extensions. Same reasons why someone would use Firefox. I’ll keep on using both search engines since I gotta use multiple Chrome profiles anyways (home + work) with Bing set to the profile that uses G+, and Google to the non G+ profile. I’m not a fan of the personalized results and the hacked up interface that Google presents when you’re logged in, too distracting. I also enjoy Bing’s rewards so that works out as well. On the other hand, when I’m not logged in, I like Google.

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