It's interesting how we individuals on HN seem to use search in a totally different way then other, non-technical, groups and we think we're the norm. In the past I had the same type of comments (e.g. Google returns better results, I don't care about social when searching, etc) but then I've taken a closer look at how my wife and my kids use search. Totally different then me. For me, search is my closest friend on the internet, it is my lifeline to solving all my (technical) problems. I use Google to be productive on a daily basis. It's not necessarily about research for me, it's about problem solving.
For the rest of my family, they use search in a different way. They search for their favorite tv shows, for research (e.g. for trips, homework, the next big toy for xmas), for recipes, shopping, etc. They don't search to be more productive, they search for their hobbies and interests. As such, many of what they search for are social by nature. My wife likes to talk with her friends about the latest pair of shoes she's thinking of buying and my kids love to spend hours on facebook discussing the latest episode of CSI, etc.
I'm with most of you, I don't get why we need this social "thing" on "our' search engines. It clutters everything and I don't want others to know what I'm searching for. But for my family, they talk about the stuff they search for and having these features on Bing might make them switch.. maybe...
"To track our progress, we conducted tests that removed any trace of Google and Bing branding. When we did this study in January of last year 34% people preferred Bing, while 38% preferred Google. The same unbranded study now shows that Bing Search results now have a much wider lead over Google’s. When shown unbranded search results 43% prefer Bing results while only 28% prefer Google results."
I switched over to Duck Duck Go, which uses the Bing API, with every intention of using them full time and not going back to google. But the results were much, much worse and I had to go back to google.
That wasn't just a blind taste test, I was actively rooting for pepsi but I just couldn't stomach the taste and had to go back to Coca-Cola.
Switched to DDG as well, noticed that it was a little too slow for my liking at times, and often did produce less desirable results than Google,
but after a couple of months those dried up. It seemed to speed up a little (don't know if it actually did) and the results seemed to get better (don't know if they actually did or I just kicked the subconscious habit)
I've done a quick study of this at my office, and I'm not saying the results were what you experienced, just that this was one sample. When people put the same simple search term in both, they found the result quicker in Bing. When the search term was more complex and used operators, they found the result quicker in Google. The difference I saw was that people were used to Google and how to format a search so Google finds it better. The same search operators didn't work as well in Bing.
Whether this is a problem with complex queries in Bing or a problem of the computer training the user, I can't say. This was just what my office found out. For the record, no one changed their search provider.
This strikes me as being similar to the Coca Cola / Pepsi rivalry. Supposedly, in blind tests, people prefer Pepsi, but does that correlate with them actually buying Pepsi more often? It's not clear that it does.
I wish I could track down the source for this, I think I heard it once at a conference. In regards to Coke vs. Pepsi, Pepsi is sweeter so when tasted in a small amount people tended to choose the sweeter drink. However when people have a full can the extra sweetness was a turn off.
I personally feel like search has been broken for a long time. I rarely use Google outside of "site:" searches b/c the results are so bad. For example, last night I flooded my lawn mower engine. I did a search on Google and Bing for "how to fix a flooded lawn mower engine". The first page on both sites were stuffed with results from ehow, ask, answers, etc. I could not find a single good result. I finally gave up a few pages in. I am sure there are good answers out there, but I am convinced that Google and Bing can no longer find them. Both companies should be embarrassed that they have let these cheap content companies game them to the point where search is no longer relevant. Maybe Bing will fix this and my faith will be renewed, but I am not too optimistic.
I completely agree with you. Outside of doing software/programming relating searches, Google's results are all overridden with, and you phrased it perfectly, cheap content sites. Most of the time, if I'm doing a search like "best turkey call", I tend to do a search such as "jesse hunting forums best turkey call". I would not call eHow, Yahoo Answers and other cheap content sites SPAM, but they are far from reliable than places where you can get extremely relevant information such as hunting forums regarding hunting, or health and workout information from forum.bodybuilding.com.
Yeah, that is about how I operate. But, when I am out of my comfort zone (like lawn mower repair), I am completely lost. It seems like search engines should know where people get the best results and serve those up first. And, in my opinion, it is rare that the best results come from these content sites. Heck, when I search that same query today, out of the first five results, only 1 has a picture of a lawnmower that is not in an ad. And, it is a stock photo.
Indeed. I got fed up with this couple of months back. Depending on the topic, I would do a site search on my own list of sites. I did this so many times, I decided to create customized search engines on top of Google. It will save you a lot of time. Check it out: http://www.google.com/cse/
I have been using Bing primarily (Chrome search box and iPhone search) for 6 months, after about 12 years with Google.
It's completely adequate/same for web searches of all types where the answer is a web page.
- Perhaps a bit less cluttered.
- The social thumbs-up is kind of nice.
Once long ago only Google got the basic search types right while all others were noise machines, then Google was still better at having more pages, more PDFs, more types of data, and now it's basically parity. All search engines seem bad at:
- fighting "how to" seo spam
- travel/product seo spam
Not sure it's a crisis though.
Other search types:
- Images is better
- Maps is worse, and
- Local is worse. For those I go over to Google a few times per day.
Months ago, I submitted my sitemap.xml to Bing. I check the webmaster tools all the time. No errors, it sees all the links in the file and reports the correct number, but it refuses to index my pages. I do a search for my site in Bing and it shows me next to a bogus social network site of a similar name. All the while, Google is continually slurping up my content and showing my site correctly in search results. I appreciate the promise of Bing, but I think the implementation still has a lot of work to do.
It looks like Bing is trying not to clutter the UI with its social features by default:
"Sidebar is the most novel component of the new Bing. It's a mellow, gray sidebar that is closed by default. It shows a thumbnail of your picture and two control icons, and that's it. There's a hint arrow to expand it. When you open Sidebar, it shows you stuff from social networks that's relevant to your search."
No, Microsoft, I will not give you my email address to try out your new search service. You still refuse to respect my email preferences for several other services. Your new design seems like a neat idea. If it was halfway decent, I'd have sent other people to go try it, but instead, I'll ignore you like usual.
All the best to microsoft. Its better to die trying than giving up and complaining.
It will be interesting to see how social data will affect the search results. Having been trained to use google for every search i make, going back to an unimpressive UI which may or may not have the best search results is in itself a very annoying thing about bing.
However the problem they are trying to solve, if achieved then i would be one of the several millions who will be benefitted.
Hence i wish them good luck.
There are big risks involved in this UI that may well outweigh the benefits. What if you accidentally "ask a friend" on searches you didn't mean to? (It's very easy to mis-click, especially on a trackpad or touchscreen.) And what about the person Bing/FB suggest to all their friends as an expert on, say, "toilet paper"?
It looks nice, but I would like to know where does Bing gets the data from Twitter and Facebook. Either Google is lying when they launched SPYW and the data can be obtained publicly and easily, or Bing made deals with these two companies that Google didn't for some reason.
Bing has a deal with facebook and twitter to access the data.
> However, Google still has an argument that it cannot get all the same data on the open web as Bing. Twitter actually closed itself off to Google last year, blocking Google from even getting open web data. Even if Google renews a deal with Twitter, it’s now gunshy about building features around something that might disappear. Meanwhile, Facebook doesn’t seem to allow public posts out to the open web.
> Bing doesn’t have these issues, with a deal in place with Twitter and Facebook and no apparent blocking by Google.
Let me know when you figure out how to do an advanced search?
edit: goodness would you imbeciles stop downvoting. This got downvoted the last time I asked it because people thought I was being sarcastic. It's IMPOSSIBLE to do a refined or advanced search. Calm down with the hate for Google's "horribly cluttered search interface" and tell me why this is OK or why I apparently can't see what you all see.
I'm really not trying to be an ass, but if I go to "bing.com", type "test", press "enter". I don't see "advanced" anywhere. The closest I see is a 'gear' that takes me to a completely different page that is not an advanced search.
You have the international version (like I do in Australia). The new design doesn't seem to have an advanced link anywhere (you can try it by going to preferences, and choosing 'Change country/region'.
Not sure if this will make it better or not but I think Bing is willing to try lots of things to say to people, "We're here too." If the test results were done fairly (I have no reason to doubt them) it must be frustrating for Bing engineers, their work is not being recognized.
Personally I do not like Google's "Ads are just more answers" attitude, it opens the way for perverse incentives. Ads are ads, so I hope Bing, DDG, Blekko and others take a bite
I think ads and social should compete equally with other content in Results. In that, most ads should rank just above the spam at the bottom. And Social results should rank as any opinions, like forums and such.
Where's the money in that? Dont know, but users would flock.