Microsoft: New blind test shows users still prefer Bing's results over Google's

In September, Microsoft launched a major marketing campaign for its Bing search engine called "Bing it On". The campaign included TV ads where people on the street were challenged to compare search engine results from Bing and Google. At the time, Microsoft said that the tests showed that Bing search results were preferred over Google's by "nearly 2-to-1 in blind comparison tests."

This week, a new post on the Bing blog said that Microsoft had conducted a new study on Bing vs Google comparisons but with one difference. The previous study had people type in whatever search string they wanted. However, the blog stated that "that raised the question 'what if people are just searching for really weird things, instead of searching like they normally do?".

The new test gave people a list of five search queries to type in, and that if they didn't like any of them, they could refresh them until they found one they did like. Microsoft said that the search queries came from Google's own top search queries for 2012, stating: "We figured the right thing to do was to go with our competitor’s terms. After all, you’d think Google would be better at their own top queries, right?"

Microsoft said that the study, which used 1,000 people picked by an independent company, was based on pure web search results with no extra features such as Microsoft's Facebook support or Google's Knowledge Graph added in. The blog stated:

Even taking away some of our most innovative features and with the handicap of using Google's top search queries, Bing still comes out on top, with 52 (percent) of people preferring Bing’s results over Google’s, 36 (percent) preferring Google’s, and 12 (percent) choosing Bing and Google equally (for those that favor discarding ties, that’s 60 (percent) Bing, 40 (percent) Google when people had a clear preference). For the especially geeky, all those numbers are +/- 3 (percent) at a 95 (percent) confidence level.

While not quite the "2 to 1" ratio that Microsoft used in its "Bing it On" campaign, these new results suggest that people really do seem to like Bing's results over those of Google.

Source: Bing blog | Image via Microsoft

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44 Comments

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It really depends on what you are searching for. I find highly competitive terms to actually be better on Bing due to Google's algorithms knocking good sites down. I like Google better for the longer keyword phrases.

I have been trying bing for the last year or so. The ads that display are usually driver downloads that border on spyware.

I use duck duck go most of the time. But today when I did some searches for say fire emblem and sd cards...Google just spanked bing in results. I found what I was looking for and bing didnt even have a clue what I was searching for.

Honest question, what are you folks searching for, that Bing never finds but for which Google produces such great results? I've no trouble believing that there exist a few categories where either Google's algorithm or their vast expanse of search experience produces a better result, but I just can't take comments along the lines of "Bing never finds what I want" seriously.

I've used Bing almost exclusively for a year or two now, and its hardly ever failed me. On the rare occasions I turn to Google, the results are typically no better. Maybe I only ever search on really pedestrian stuff, though. Where are the big differences? I'm not seeing them.

/curious

Bing itself find everything i ask for. Like Google.

The problem is the awful Bing maps for rural canada. Google maps is superior to Bing maps for rural canada.

Bing is getting better, but not as good as Google. I give Bing a chance from time to time, especially when Google helped me on a very rare and crucial search, i try it on bing asap. Bing's first page is still like Google's second page.

I have been using Bing for a year right now, and seriously, Google absolutely DOESN'T suck, but Bing is as good as Google, indubitably. I just prefer Bing over anything right now.

First time ever doing the Bing It On challenge. Here are my results:

You chose Google. Bing won 0 rounds.

I've been using Google for 10+ years. Definitely not switching now. =\

case and point.... Please type in "hard duration" with quotes in Bing vs Google. It's financial terminology not..... censored censored censored material. Bing is horrible.

Recently I made Bing my default search engine in both Chrome and IE. I'm liking it better than Google. Google has a mind of his own when it comes to search results. I got tired of that.

In a blind taste test, Microsoft discovered that more people prefer Bing over Google. They also prefer malt over straight beer, 151 over normal rum, and Jamaican weed over Colorado weed.

It's already "Metro-fyed"... get with the program dude... what they need to do is bring better international support!

I would think most people would fall into the "each works equally" category because honestly, for most queries, I would imagine you're going to find what you're looking for on the first page. At least in my experience with both. I use Bing more because of W8 and WP8 integration, but am not adverse to Google. And with Maps, Google is the only way to go IMO.

I agree... but disagree on your Maps comment... Google's maps are constantly outdated... Nokia's HERE and Bings are newer and even have streets that are not even finished being built yet in my neighbourhood. Plus I like the look of Nokia + Bing maps over Google's outdated look.

j2006 said,
I agree... but disagree on your Maps comment... Google's maps are constantly outdated... Nokia's HERE and Bings are newer and even have streets that are not even finished being built yet in my neighbourhood. Plus I like the look of Nokia + Bing maps over Google's outdated look.

Google Maps is way better for me. The Bing Maps satellite imagery for my area is distorted, low resolution and outdated, plus I don't like the interface. Here's a comparison image: http://i.imgur.com/cc7ekpM.jpg

People can talk up Bing all they want but for me it isn't even close to being a credible alternative to Google.

Here's a comparison image: http://i.imgur.com/cc7ekpM.jpg People can talk up Bing all they want but for me it isn't even close to being a credible alternative to Google.

A little disingenuous showing the Birds eye view, which is harder to capture and thus updated less frequently (and also a feature sorely lacking in Google). Here's the satellite view for each:

Bing: http://binged.it/122FD3x
Google: http://goo.gl/maps/0Lvwi

Now to me, it seems like the Bing images are a lot newer, as they contain a number of buildings and roads that aren't there in the Google images, unless they were destroyed... The Google images also suffer from some pretty heavy shadows.

I don't know how the rest of your region is, but describing them as "not even close to being a credible alternative" seems quite off given what I've seen.

For Maps I think it boils down to your area. For example, Bing is missing an entrance to my complex so when I use it for directions, it has me going out the far end of my complex, which is a decent size. Not a huge deal in this case, but overall I've just found Google Maps to be more consistent.

ModernMech said,
A little disingenuous showing the Birds eye view, which is harder to capture and thus updated less frequently (and also a feature sorely lacking in Google).

You're absolutely right, my apologies. I was just trying to make a quick comparison and I didn't realise that by default Bing automatically changes between the two depending on your level of zoom (an annoying feature, especially given the obvious disparity in image quality). Here's an updated comparison to be fair: http://i.imgur.com/rmdLomQ.jpg

The Bing image is actually a lot more up to date, so that has certainly improved my opinion of Bing Maps. I still prefer Google Maps overall, because it tends to have a lot more useful landmarks listed (unless I've just missed an option in Bing, which is a possibility). Here is a comparison I made of a local town: http://i.imgur.com/QCAerjS.jpg

I also don't like the way Bing forgets my preferences - if I'm using the satellite view on Maps and click on Images and then back to Maps it defaults to the map view. Google Maps remembers my preferences. Again it might be a setting but it doesn't make sense to default to that. I tend to give Bing a try every 3-4 months to see how it has improved but my experience hasn't been very positive. With the Olympics for instance, Google had the medal table displayed on the side when I searched - the same search on Bing had just regular search results.

I love Bing, but they really need to stop adding useless features and focus on indexing more websites than Google instead. It desperately needs a better web crawler imo.

as someone who always used to try Windows Live Search then head to Google for real results, I can honestly say I haven't used any other search than Bing since launch other than when they had the compare promotions and I always find anything I need using Bing from a power user perspective

yeah i prefer Bing for an OPTION to not censoring the search result.

for example searching following 'keyword' on Google Image, i got no intended result:
" http://hostave3.net/ "

i can't turn off that 'moderate filter' in last few month,
with some non-english google sites, i still able to turn of that 'moderate' thingy,
so why google.com being different??

as long bing doesn't follow google.com example, i will use bing.

you see Microsoft, people actualy like to be given "option" and not rail-roaded like sheeps.

I've tried bing a couple times, but never found what I wanted. Google would give me the right result straight off.

Sorry, dont like Bing and like it even less with all the mud slinging MS has been doing. Plus, I get better results with Google.

Bing is better at 'specific' results... while Google is better for 'broader' results. They're not really mud-slinging, they're bringing honest awareness to Google's issues, and bringing simple comparisons. They aren't saying things like "Google sucks" or name calling, they're simply bringing awareness with true stats based on research.

j2006 said,
Bing is better at 'specific' results... while Google is better for 'broader' results.

I've never found Bing's results to be anywhere near as useful as Google, nor does it compare with other factors (design, functionality, usability, etc).

j2006 said,
They aren't saying things like "Google sucks" or name calling, they're simply bringing awareness with true stats based on research.

Actually, that's exactly what Microsoft is doing. Not here, but it has repeatedly attacked Google over recent months.

I'm pretty indifferent between Bing and Google in terms of actual results, but I like a number of Bing features more. Maps, image search, and video as pretty much always been better on Bing than Google, and we've seen several instances of Google trying to copy Bing in this regard, especially most recently with image search. But beyond this I use Bing for the following reasons:

1) Bing Points. You get 1 pt for every 2 searches you do, and 475 pts will get you $5 on amazon. I've gotten over $60 just from searching normally.

2) The daily bing picture. They nice to look at and very informative. I've learned a lot of random facts. Google got famous with their stark homepage, but it's not attractive to me anymore.

3) This statement in the privacy policy: "We take additional steps to protect the privacy of stored search information by removing the entirety of the IP address after 6 months, cookies and other cross session identifiers, after 18 months."

Google has no such statement in theirs, and reading it, is much more loose with the kind of information they potentially will share with others. Makes sense when you consider 95% of Google's revenue comes from advertising.

Given these points, even if Bing were a little worse with search results, it's still the better alternative in my mind.

ModernMech said,
Maps, image search, and video as pretty much always been better on Bing than Google, and we've seen several instances of Google trying to copy Bing in this regard, especially most recently with image search.

Glad someone else noticed. Google seem to copy Bing a lot. Especially Bing Image search, the last 2 or 3 updates to Bing Images have been copied by Google each time.

I disagree about Maps though. Google is miles better here, especially outside the US, theres no comparison.

techbeck said,
Sorry, dont like Bing and like it even less with all the mud slinging MS has been doing. Plus, I get better results with Google.

Bringing attention to what Google ADMITS they are doing, is mudslinging?

So if I say you are a 'human' that 'posted' on Neowin, I'm mudslinging as well?

I would like to give Bing a chance but I can't.
Every search I do with it seems to be ineffective.
BUT, as google is playing the role of my mom lately (censoring and blocking website) I will probably change for Bing.

Bing is great for two things: Torrents and porn.

Miles better than Google for that stuff. The video search for porn is epic.

I wonder, who were blind ??

The test subjects or the test judges as really Bings results a really irrelevant compare to Google..

Google still rocks when it comes to finding what "I" want, rather than to what a decision making search engine wants me to find...

Bing now provides over 30% of search results in the US every month, so to say the results are bad or irrelevant is absolute nonsense. Bing usage would not be growing consistently every year if the search results were actually bad.