Above the Crowd

My Life With Bing

April 19, 2012:

For the past two months, I changed the default search engine on my browser (ironically Chrome) from Google to Bing. I have used Bing almost exclusively for this period, and have two quick conclusions.

1) With regards to core search, the Bing results were perfectly fine. I never struggled to find anything. I never forced myself to redo the search on Google. So I would say Bing is on-par in terms of traditional, core search quality.

2) Where I did struggle was with the non-core search searches (i.e. maps, images, videos, news). Microsoft and Google use slightly different UIs on these non-core searches, and I had no idea how trained I was on the Google UI. Trying to learn the Bing tools and features was quite frustrating, and on those searches – I kept returning to Google. Plus, I didn’t realize how often I transition from one type of search to another (from core to maps, or core to news). This was another point of frustration. Keep in mind, I did not have a problem with Bing’s non-core results, just rather the navigational elements.

At the end of the day, for me, my user “lock-in” is associated not with the quality of Google results, but rather with the understanding of the UI features and levers.  More like a traditional software application.


  1. Amol Sarva (@amolsarva) April 19, 2012

    I had the same experience. The lock-in isn’t all that strong at this point on the basis of relatively light UI idiosyncracies — we’re not talking “switch from Excel to OpenOffice” type lock in. More like “switch from iOS to Android”

  2. Funny, I still use Yahoo maps for the same reason (with Bing getting 99% of my search traffic). I have a friend who uses mapquest of all things for the same reason.

    Ok, gotta get back to this paper I’m writing on W*rdStar!


  3. Bing Maps (and Microsoft’s other non-core search products) are not simply less familiar, but poorly designed compared with Google’s. Further anecdotal support for the design as competitive advantage school.

  4. Tim Malone April 19, 2012

    Interesting. I recently changed from iPhone to Android (Samsung Galaxy). Like your experiense of the Bing/Google UI, I found the first six weeks with the Galaxy really frustrating. In that period, the first two weeks I just assumed the Android solution was almost hopeless. Nothing was logical and annoying little unexpected things would happen. Then I realised the problem was that the logic was different to the iPhone’s (not wrong, just different). I calmed down and learned how the Galaxy worked, and have become quite pleased with it now after six months.

    During the learning period I definitiely would have changed back to iPhone if someone had handed me one. (Got to be a marketing opportunity there for the loosing manufacturer.) Now, I am not so sure.

  5. In my experience, Google does a better job finding the appropriate MS technical articles. I find that highly amusing.

  6. PJs.Cat April 19, 2012

    Can’t believe you actually used Bing. I tried a similar experiment with duckduckgo, which isn’t quite as good as the multibillion dollar Bing or Google, but almost. And it’s made by just one guy… pretty impressive.

  7. andy idsinga April 19, 2012

    I’ve been doing the exact same thing with duckduckgo – 2nd month now.
    ..but I’ve hooked it into the address bar in chrome ..do all my search from there now. Address bar also lets me flip back to google very easily as it has its own keyword that is used to instruct the browser which engine to use.
    Duckduckgo is good.. but I occasionally find myself checking the results on google

  8. tsaisy April 23, 2012

    so… umm, woudn’t be the first time M$ makes annoing, cumbersome UI.

    The question is, why should I care?

    Pretty happy every time I can avoid their products for lack of monopoly…

  9. hanafitatawarna April 26, 2012


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  11. Sinuhe May 6, 2012

    Bing and Google are total different even in term of core-search when you have an Google account. Try for example some ambiguous term like “Orchard”. For my case, most interests are in computing field, so the top one would be the “Orchard Project.net” (same as Bing), but the next hits are total different. Bing presents anything indifferently it can pull in, Google on other hand offers digital marketing, hard supplier etc… only on the last line of the first page is here something about the Orchard hotel in Singapore, also very close to my usual interests. Of course, anything has two sides you can object, what if I want to search for some spots name Orchard instead? And yes, even Google can not read your mind (and nobody!), in such cases we can easy type in other searching terms like “Hotel” or “City” or simple “map”. And if you are looking for other heavily abused SEO terms like “free download” or slightly mistype your term, the search results are even more distinct.

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  13. jack February 19, 2013

    That is in interesting point of view. I remember back in the day when I used to gravitate towards dogpile.com since it would use a bunch of search engines, but as time went on, I would automatically head off to google. Now, I am wondering if it isn’t just because habits die hard, rather than because of “better” search results with google.

  14. Jamie Salcedo March 7, 2013

    I too have made a review/experiment with Bing. This came after Skype argument between a friend of mine that works for Google and a a buddy that got to into Microsoft through an it staffing firm. They wanted me to be their tester for search engines, and while Bing had slightly better results, the overall Google package makes it more appealing (Scholar, News, Reader, etc.). Good post btw, Bill.

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  20. Freeman September 23, 2013

    I have used Bing and there is lot more difference between Bing and Google.I suggest a translation service which top’s in Bing search engine and useful in youtube video translation.


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