Bing Vs. Google: First Impressions

Microsoft has spent considerable time and effort to get attention to its new search engine, the hopeful Google-killer  There was a live event on Hulu, almost a week long media frenzy, and a much-welcomed surge in market value for Microsoft that accompanied the launch of the search engine.  While Microsoft would like everyone to believe that they're not trying to outshine Google with this effort, a quick visit to the actual search page will show you otherwise.

There's too much involved in comparing Google and  Bing to fit in this article, but let's just consider first impressions.  When you load up Google, you get your no-frills search bar, their logo that they like to play with, and a list of links up top that bring you to other search functions of Google or to Google's other services.  Observe:


Now here's the Bing start page:


See the similarities?  Now, with the understanding that most of these functions are pretty much necessary for any search engine these days, I will award Bing the win on just this small comparison based on style points.  I like how the Bing start page looks better than the Google one.  Of course, that says nothing about how useful the site is, and so I will give a quick comparison of a few of the other features for you.

Image Search:

Bing's image search is much the same as Google's, and finds relevant pictures.  The results display mode looks the most like Google's when you click the display option to the right, "Show image details".  As far as I could tell on first look, Bing and Google both display equally relevant results in images on broader topics or well-known topics, but with lesser known internet searches, there was a fair share of clutter on both sides, with Google slightly more useful.

 Video Search:

Essentially, the video search comparison is the same as the image search comparison, although I am partial to Google's use of it's own video hosting for longer videos (longer than 20 minutes).  I have to award points to Bing, though, for enabling a video/audio preview of the video with mouseover.  I love that feature.  But how come Bing referrences more YouTube videos than Google does?  Google video gets videos from a variety of sources, not just their video golden child, YouTube.

Maps search:

To me, there is almost no comparison here.  Google Maps was far more effective at determining my current location, and the location I wanted to search for.  Add to that the fact that Bing asks you to install software to view in "3D" (which I equate to Google's "street view") and you've got a knock out.  It seems like Microsoft has followed their usual protocol of imitation, with the addition of a marginally more impressive (although inconvenient) option, with this feature.

That's all I'll compare for now.  Keep in mind that comparing an everyday tool like Google to a site that hopes to replace or cut into it is no easy task.  It may take days, weeks, even months before I could say definitively which one I prefer overall.  Have you tried Bing, yet?  Let us know what your first impressions are in the comments below!


Jun 9, 2009
by Anonymous

Not enough to change

As often as I search, the style of the search page I most like is Spartan, something fast and to the point. To Google's credit, they have resisted style and stuck with what has worked the last few years. It loads fast and it works.

Along the way Goog has hooked me on email, docs, picasa and everything else. I will admit, MS would have to be an order of magnitude better to get me at this stage. The new search is well done, as good as Google, but that is not anywhere near enough to move me at this point.Five years ago, yes. Today, no.

Bing doesn't redefine "search", it redefines the phrase: "Too little, too late" .

Jun 9, 2009
by Anonymous


My Bing start page does NOT look like that, if it did, I might spend more time there. I do not see anything special about Bing

Dr. Wright

Jun 29, 2009
by Anonymous


From my initial tests, Bing tends to ignore small, hobbie sites, even if their content is more relevant. It favors results from large corporate websites. Google's algorithm has this problem, not nearly as much. With google, your super-relevant information from a small website might be buried down a few pages, but with Bing it might be missing completely.