Great to see some competition/innovation in search

There is a good piece in the New York Times today which lists a lot of ways in which Bing is better than Google.  Here are some:

  • Speed – of initial results and in the way it helps to find the right result, minimising clicks and dead ends
  • Preview of search results without clicking off the results page (see Picture 1. below)
  • Related searches links on the left for certain categories of search – e.g. celebs (Picture 2)
  • Better presentation of image search results
  • Ability to flick through videos in the search results page (shows one frame for ever 7s of video)
  • Better product search – more pictures and the related search links again (see Picture 3 for side by side presentation of Bing and Google results courtesy of comparison site Bing vs Google)

There are of course lots and lots of ways in which Google remains better than Bing, and as the NY Times piece points out Bing is not even consistently delivering the features above, so my point here is not that Bing will beat Google, but rather that we can expect Google to respond by improving more rapidly than it has been up to now.  I’m sure also that Bing will keep on improving and hopefully we will get a feature race that will make life better for us all.  If it pans out this way we will be watching capitalism at its finest in action.

Despite all this (and maybe even because of it) publicly Google’s attention is focused elsewhere.  Yesterday their head of search Merissa Mayer was focusing on realtime search as the area of interest (a little unconvincingly if you read this write up in the Guardian), and of course there was the Chrome OS browser announcement. 

As a sidebar it is interesting to note that in the popular perception there is rough parity between Google’s chances of success in the OS market and Microsoft’s chances in the search market, although I know which side of this new vs. old and free vs paid fight I would rather be on.

Picture 1

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Picture 2

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Picture 3

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