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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Here's a comparison image: 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:


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:

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:

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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. =\

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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