A Bing v Google Moment

by Alex Brown 15. September 2010 16:24

Trying to download the latest version of OpenOffice.org™ I typed "openoffice" into Bing, and was surprised to get back a page of results which did not contain the official OpenOffice.org site. Google however, returned it as the top result.

Hmm, maybe not specific enough. I try entering "openoffice.org" into Bing. Same thing. Google again returns the official OpenOffice.org site as the top result.

Curious now, I enter into "free office download" into Google and again get the OpenOffice.org Site. Performing this with Bing I'm given a page for Microsoft® Office™ downloads and add-ins.

Search neutrality? pah - these two search engines have a very different view of the web it seems!

Comments

9/16/2010 12:28:16 PM #

Jesper Lund Stocholm

Hi Alex,

Could it be that Bing just doesn't work right in UK? I have heard that it works kindof ok in US - but it is utterly useless in Denmark

Jesper Lund Stocholm Denmark |

9/16/2010 3:28:51 PM #

Rob Weir

The query works as expected in the US, returning the official OOo site in the first position.

Rob Weir United States |

9/16/2010 4:30:26 PM #

AndyB

Looks OK to me (US version.) It even has a special highlight around it with direct links to download the software, the SDK and developer snapshot.

http://imgur.com/4iuXu.png

AndyB United States |

9/16/2010 5:28:53 PM #

Alex

@Rob @Andy

Ah - that's reassuring. So it may well be a European Bing issue as Jesper suggests.

Much as I've tried to like Bing as a way of searching that avoids feeding the Google info-maw, it simply doesn't deliver on too many occasions ...

Alex United States |

9/16/2010 5:49:20 PM #

Jesper Lund Stocholm

Hi Alex,

Much as I've tried to like Bing as a way of searching that avoids feeding the Google info-maw, it simply doesn't deliver on too many occasions ...
I turned Bing on on my iPhone ... but switched back within 24 hrs. At that time I was almost sure the name of the thingy was wrong ... based on the results I got, it should have been named "Bong".

Jesper Lund Stocholm Denmark |

9/17/2010 2:54:52 PM #

Bugeyedcreepy

Australians are contending with a similar results view to Europe, that is to say we have no access to the genuine Openoffice.org website from Bing using the keword search 'Openoffice.org'.  I guess it's only the US Regulators that bother Microsoft enough to give US Netizens a more... <ahem> balanced view.  This might also bring to light that the US just so happens to be among the smallest per-capita uptakers of OpenOffice.org anyway.  Sacrificial anode?

Bugeyedcreepy Australia |

9/19/2010 8:00:45 AM #

Alex

@Bugeyed

There is a complaint against Google for allegedly affecting search results for their own commercial interests in both the US and the EU.

www.theregister.co.uk/.../

I am sure this is an area which will see increasing interest from regulators in the coming years.

Alex United States |

9/26/2010 6:52:41 PM #

Bugeyedcreepy

Hello Alex,

You're right in that there isn't a comprehensibly useable search engine in place that wholly and unequivocally offers unbiased results, I see Google is in this respect not at all untarred.

I thought I'd test the Mapquest search as a nostalgic exercise that your link referenced to, before I did though, I couldn't help but notice that people were still clicking through to Mapquests main website from the 62% linked-from-Google statistic. OpenOffice.org still has no such reciprocation from Bing for us here let alone 62%.  My results with Google using the keyword "mapquest" returns mapquests websites and a mini break-down of their services and major links.  Obviously this may very well be a different view to the one I might have received a year or two ago however I'd be very surprised if you couldn't get to Mapquest's website from the first page of Google's results even then.  To try another angle I repeat a similar search looking for a "search engine" and my results reflect the usual results one would expect (obviously Google is in no immediate danger of losing a majority preference) where I could find all the big names on the first page (in order of appearance) - Dogpile, Google, Bing, Alta Vista, Lookle, WebWombat (those last couple are Aussie specific Laughing), Ask Jeeves and Metasearch.  There are most likely many more if I kept flipping pages but do I really need to?

I tried other keyword searches for what I though Google would have it's own interests in such as "web document editing" and "web mail"/"web based email", etc.  All gave seemingly normal results with no real preference to it's own services over others, if it even rated a mention at all (i.e. Gmail?). I'm still not defending Google, if they did bad then they did bad.

Contrast this with Bing where I could search for the same "web document editing" and my results hit me with numerous sites from Microsoft and other sites generally Microsoft related (sparing one on editing PDFs) talking about editing Microsoft Word documents or editing Website pages in general, no mention of Googledocs or gmail though, where Google for example still returns Yahoomail but doesn't mention it's own Gmail services.

The difference I see in this is that anytime Google promotes it's own wares, it's always in conjunction with the desired results you searched for. If Google has promoted it's own services alongside or even in-line with competing services then many would see it as smart marketing or "suggestive selling" if you understand Macdonalds Restaurant crew speak parlance, "Want Fries with that?".  This apparently becomes a problem when competitors feel disempowered to compete against Google's momentum, who wouldn't.  Bing on the other hand seems to have a vastly narrower view than Google and I generally see little to none of my relevant search results because more often than not it's spent much of the first page returning it's own friendly (arguably blinkered) results where even topic leaders are relegated to obscured references (such as OpenOffice.org in a Bing search for "openoffice.org") or barely make the page at all (such as Google in another bing search for "search engines").  I guess it is all relevant and anyone can subscribe to whichever view benefits your searching habits but since mine is generally not in-line with Microsoft's view, their results tend to be perpendicular to my train of thinking.  I readily admit that their results would be vastly beneficial to anyone who works closely with Microsoft's products and services so I'm in no position to discount their search engine as being irrelevant, just that for me Google returns a much more usable set of results.  I therefore tend to stick with it for my obscure searches over Bing, Yahoo or Alta Vista.

I'm still not defending Google but I'm not sure regulators will have a say in who uses which search engine since a useful one will generally garner greater patronage than one that is hamstrung on competitive bias and recursive searches. Worst case scenario I envisage fines for anti-competitive actions but I still believe it to be far-fetched.  Bing has no fear of such reprisals from any regulators since it isn't the leader in on-line search.  From the results it gives I don't believe it ever will be.

*** Disclaimer: My views are my own, Results are subjective and are in no way backed up by scientific data or other researched criteria or conditions, feel free to repeat my tests and conclude your own theories and/or conspiracies. I am not paid by nor do I own any shares, divestures, IPOs or related financial advantage to any of the above mentioned entities, all brands and trademarks are everybody elses.

Bugeyedcreepy Australia |

10/6/2010 7:31:02 PM #

stable mats

Both of these SEs has different algorithm and Google rules in this!

stable mats United States |

12/21/2010 6:08:34 PM #

trackback

lnxwalt280's status on Tuesday, 21-Dec-10 18:08:23 UTC

Bing results skewed in Europe, Australia www.adjb.net/post/A-Bing-v-Google-Moment.aspx

lnxwalt280 |

12/23/2010 1:25:26 AM #

pingback

Pingback from techrights.org

Peter and Emil Add Microsoft Slant to Ars Technica (and Note on Imposters in General) | Techrights

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