Bing is about to rock the search engine world next week. Find out why!
Microsoft will release Bing early next week, a search engine that finally has the potential to steal away some of Google’s dominating market share. I will be honest I was a little sceptical when I first heard about Bing (codename Kumo). In fact the original title for this article was going to be a lot more negative. But now that I have had the chance to use it for real world searches, I am impressed and have switched my search engine from Google to Bing. It was a no brainer. Bing won me over in about 10 minutes.
As I kept searching more and more, all these little features kept popping out at me! They weren’t so crazy that I was confused and wanting to go crawling back to Google. They were slight tweaks and magical changes that I’m sure were daunting from a back-end and logical programming perspective, but the magic is in how non intrusive and awesome the features are to the user. So what were these sleight of hand tricks that Microsoft was able to embed? Why did I finally switch my search engine from Google after nearly 8 years of being a loyal fan that promoted Google to nearly everyone that used something different?
Comparing Bing Search with Google
I just bought a new digital SLR camera, Nikon D60, and I wanted to download the manual to my laptop for reference purposes. So I went to Bing, and I searched Nikon D60. I was blown away at how nice the search results were laid out for me. It was clear that bing knew exactly what I was looking for. Check out the search results!
You’ll notice that it starts off with images which is really cool because it confirms that it’s the right camera. On the left it has various options I can select from including: Reviews, Accessories, Manual, Repair, Lenses, and Videos. Pretty slick. So I was looking for a manual in this case. I simply click on the Manual selection, and the first result is the correct manual from Nikon. Let’s try the same search with Google.
All I get from Google is a ton of advertisers and links to buy the camera. Not at all what I’m looking for. I click into a few of the links to see if they have the manual and they don’. They also don’t really have pictures or reviews easily accessible anywhere. Next I’ll try a more specific search I guess like “Nikon D60 Manual”.
So I tried to find my manual again, this time I get a paid link to the Nikon web site, followed by something that looks like it should be the manual. I click on it, and it’s definitely not my manual. I scroll down a bit, and no manual. So I go to the Nikon site and start looking through it and about 15 clicks later I find what I’m looking for.
With Bing I not only found exactly what I was looking for, but the interface was so simple I was able to find the manual in two clicks by only typing “Nikon D60”. With Google I typed in exactly what I wanted, and it took me 15 clicks and about 5 minutes. Google gets an Epic Fail, Bing clearly wins.
Let’s try another search for “Disney”. If I am searching for Disney I am probably looking for: Games, Movies, Disney Store, Shows, and Schedules. Guess what bing lets me filter on super easily! Check it out below and tell me it’s not an awesome search result:
Google’s results for “Disney” are very lacking. Pretty much everything that shows up is not what I’m looking for, and its presented in a pretty static interface that reminds me of the 1990’s to be honest.
So on basic search that typical users will perform, Bing’s results are ridiculously better.
Comparing Bing Interface with Google Interface
Let’s go on a tour of some of the Bing features. A nice one to start with is the new preview feature that allows you to see useful information pertaining to a web site before you click the link. I’m not talking about a useless thumbnail that you can’t see well. This is actually relevant information, including links to let you drill into the site, before even going to the web site.
You’ll notice it’s pretty slick. I just hover of the right side of the result, and I get details on the web site, with links that let me drill into the site right away. This is actually a huge time saver that should get rid of many of the “Click and Back” usage that many users do today on search engines. The really nice thing is how well this feature works and how easy it is to read.
I really love the filtering options you get with bing as well. They are freaking awesome. I can very easily filter my result set on anything I would like, and the search results change, and in some case the interface changes slightly to present the data better. But the cool thing is that you feel like you are still on the same page. With Google as you go to different Google applications, you feel like you are definitely in a different place, and can’t easily get back to where you were.
Comparing Bing Image Search with Google
I love the image searching because it’s so integrated with the rest of my experience. Clicking on Images easily filters my results and shows me Images. I can easily hover over the images, and as I hover over them they seem to “Pop Out” at me. I get more information on the image as well.
If I click on the image, I get a listing of all the images had previously which is pretty cool, and I can also see the image in larger view if I like, all within the same interface.
You also get some easy to use options for the Bing Image Search that aren’t hidden. They are easy to see, and you can filter your results very easily.
The display options are easy to see again, right at the top right corner, and work really fast.
With all these slight improvements and tweaks, Bing beats Google hands down with its image searching capabilities. Try the same searches with Google and you get lots pretty quickly.
Comparing Bing Video Search with Google
The Bing interface is awesome to use. Probably the most amazing feature in Bing is how the search results change dynamically depending on what you’re searching for. Let’s try a different search this time and look up one of my favourite bands, the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
A simple search for “Red Hot Chili Peppers” in bing gives me an awesome result set back. It shows me images of the Peppers, followed by their web site and some other very relevant results. Along the left I can filter based on Videos, Interviews, Tour, Albums, Lyrics, Songs, and Images. Let’s check out the videos section.
The video’s section is pretty cool for a few reasons. One is I can easily go back to any other filter, or my main search on the same user interface. Google makes you jump to different sites and you get lost really easily and end up pressing the back button in your browser a couple of times. One of the other awesome features that you have to really see, is I can just hover over the videos, and they start playing. In Google in order to see if I found the right video, I actually have to click the video which takes me to the video web site, and then see if it’s the right one.
If I want to play the video it’s super easy, I just click the video, and the player starts up right within bing! No need to leave the bing site. The cool thing is they have this working for all the video sites I tried including AOL, YouTube, MySpace, Soapbox, and Dailymotion. Pretty cool, AND it didn’t make me get lost in my search quest.
I tried the above within Google, but to be honest it was so horrible, I’m not even going to bother putting in the screenshots. It’s one of those things that make you think that the only reason you liked Google was because there was nothing better.
I really wanted to give some props to Google at some point in this article so that it wasn’t completely lopsided, however there was no way. Bing’s search is ridiculously better than Google Search in pretty much every way possible.
It’s really one of those things where I’m sitting here thinking to myself “I remember when I was telling everyone to go check out Google its results are awesome”, and everyone did that back in the day, and it really made Google what it is today. I totally see myself wanting to tell people to check out Bing, and at the end of the day, it’s the word of mouth that a product is amazing that is going to mean success or failure for Bing. I know personally, I have a huge network of friends involved in every area of technology; I’m super excited to show them how cool Bing is. They might not listen to a television commercial, but they will listen if I tell them to check out Bing.
With the features Bing offers, I find it hard to believe Bing isn’t going to catch on like wildfire. It took Google to make Microsoft better, now it will take Microsoft to make Google better. It’s clear from using Bing that Microsoft is a different company now that it has been infused with usability experts and designers. The sleeping giant has clearly woken up.
In the end, users will win this war no matter what happens, and that is what has me more excited than anything!