Microsoft’s Web search, Bing, is promoting itself as a competitor to Google with a Bing it On marketing campaign. It runs a query within frames, placing results from Google and Bing side by side. You choose your preferred results and, after 5 searches, it tells you which search engine you prefer.
They probably should be focusing on their recent social upgrades. It looks like that may be cutting into their current search market share and fixing that is probably a more realistic goal. Trying to peel off Google users to become Bing users is going to take a lot more than side-by-side comparisons and social add-ons. In fact, the latter is probably a bad idea generally. Google’s users don’t like social in their results pages either. Anyway, back to the comparison.
I ran five searches on Bing it On and Google won. I wasn’t that surprised. I use Bing perhaps once every two or three months. It is never top of mind. And when I use it, I rarely find a results set that makes me confident it is better than what I would have gotten on Google. I am comfortable enough with Google’s nuances – like turning off personalized search – that I don’t see the point of using Bing.
Web Search Referrals
The flip side of Web search is the number of visitors who are referred to your site by a search engine. If Bing was really competitive, I would expect to have searches referred to my site in comparable numbers as those referred by Google. It’s clearly not the case. My personal Google Analytics results are obviously not dispositive, but I have visitors from all over the world. Less than 1% of my search referrals in the past 4 years have come from Bing.
Bing doesn’t have any place in my online search universe, either as someone looking for information or someone encouraging people to find information I share. There are obviously thousands, perhaps millions, of people who use Bing. It certainly has a pretty home page. But they need to develop something more compelling than their current product to really compete with Google.