I swear, this is the last time I’m going to write about Bing. But they advertise so much, it is hard to keep it out of my mind. And one thing I noticed was that whenever they showed a screen shot in a commercial, the side that won (the Bing side, of course) had a lot more images. That got me thinking: maybe all Microsoft is doing is providing more images on their search pages. That would probably be enough to convince people. After all, I’ve already noted that Bing is a much improved search engine; it isn’t as good as Google, but it’s close. It seemed likely that “almost as good as Google” plus lots of images would make most people think the results were better.
So I took the Bing It On test. And unlike last time, I took it many times: between five and ten times. And all I did was choose whichever search results had the larger number of images. And the results were pretty clear: Bing won 80% of the time. Now obviously, I can’t say for sure that Bing is generally winning these head to head challenges simply because it includes more images. But one thing is certain: even the most charitable judge would have to admit that Bing is not distinctly better than Google. Thus, why would Microsoft risk embarrassment if it were measuring opinions of search results which are vague at best?
As it is, the test filters out a number of display attributes. It could have filtered out images as well. But that would have likely produced a tremendous number of null results. So I suspect they did a lot of research to figure out how they could beat Google in such a test, created pages that would appeal to people, and then put out the “challenge.” This is not about search results.
Don’t get the impression that I’m a big fan of Google. I have major problems with the company. And I am forever looking for search engines that are better. Thus far, nothing is close. Microsoft has the resources to compete with Google. But rather than, say, increase their database to Google size, they try to play this game and convince people that they are a better search engine. I will dump Google in an instant if something better comes along. But Bing is not it. Not yet, anyway.