This is part of the products, services, and website review series on Balkhis.
Every day I open Firefox and open Google to search about whatever random thing I need to know about that day. When I first heard about Bing, I didn’t even give it a second thought. I figured it would go the way of the other search engines I have tried (like Scour) that slowly faded out of my search routine. Google was my bread and butter search engine, so why the heck did I need to try another search? Television was why.
About two weeks ago I started seeing commercials for Bing. The first time the “search overload” commercials were cute, but then I started seeing the same thing seven times a day. If I hear “moms who wear jeans to match their teen’s jeans” I was going to stab the television, so to prevent premature television death I decided to try out Bing.
The first difference from Google is the colorful background that Bing has adapted. I don’t know if it is an attempt to be the ultimate anti-google, but it is kinda cool to see an image instead of the white screen that permeates my dreams. Even better, Bing’s backgrounds have these little information squares that pop up in random places when you scroll over the screen. That is not to say that they are particularly informative little squares, but it breaks up the monotony of a plain background.
Now for the actual search. Both Google and Bing offer suggestions to correct incorrect spelling, which is a plus, but there is a definite lack of cross search results on Bing. Google at least offers some image results in the web results section, but I can forgive that. Bing does have two things that I really admire, one is the related searches panel on the left side of the search results, which I am sure will give me new and interesting ways to procrastinate via search engine, and the other is the lack of ads. Now I know that Google needs to make some money too, but I am so tired of telling the web illiterate in my family that “Sponsored Links” are no better than normal links. Now I am sure that ads will come to Bing in time, but I will enjoy the lack of ads while I have it.
Image time! Google decides to take this time to remind me that lightbulb is actually two words, but Bing is surprisingly quiet. Hmmm, maybe the magic of Bing makes my spelling automatically correct? If it does I could totally dig that, but anyway onto the images. Google proudly displays its images in its little grid as does Bing. But wait a minutes, what is this? Bing’s scroll bar lets you see up to 1,000 images on one page. As someone who is prone to flip forward multiple pages only to decide on one of the first pictures I saw, the scroll bar makes things more convenient.
Who knew that there were so many light bulb videos? I certainly didn’t. This yet another place where Bing is superior to Google. As much as I love Google’s very large video on the right hand side I much prefer Bing’s grid of videos to Google’s listing. If I was looking for a detailed description of each video, then Google is my main squeeze, but for the most part Bing’s bare bones video name and images is all that I need.
Now when I do my online light bulb shopping, I am going to have to default to Google. Bing’s image and website list is decent, but Google’s bold price to the right of each listing is just too darn good. So as far for shopping (or “product search” as Google calls it) Google is the winner.
Now when I first decided to look at Bing, I didn’t think that I would find a darn thing about it that I even remotely like. Google was just too good and too easy, and I can’t resist those creative logos on holidays. But I have to say, Bing grew on me. The video search and the image search both let me see more results that Google and the related search options give me fodder for millions of pointless searches. I have to say, for the casual user, Bing would be the search engine I would endorse.
But there is a caveat. Bing isn’t for the not-so-casual user. Along with the images, videos, and web searches Google has so many other features that Bing just can’t keep up with. My Gmail, Google Scholar, Google Documents, and heck even Google Books are all things that I use each week. So until Bing can trump Google in all these things and have the recognition that Google has there is no way that it will be my ultimate choice for a search engine. Good try Bing, maybe one day you will win out overall.