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is bing better than googleBy many accounts, Bing is really giving Google a run for its money. On November 6th of this year, the Guardian reported that Google’s search share in the UK dipped under 90% as Bing’s share continued to climb.  Meanwhile, just a couple of months earlier, Google saw it’s search engine market share stay flat at about 66%, while Bing continued to climb up to a share of nearly 16%.

Now, I’ve always been one to cheer for the underdog, mostly because I never like the see the formation of a monopoly, and I especially like to see the toppling of any sort of status quo. Competition is a very good thing. However, is this really about real competition? Does Bing really have what it takes to go head-to-head and win against Google?

In September, Saikat posted a story about the Bing It On challenge ‘Bing It On’ Pits Bing And Google In A Face-Off Contest For Search Stakes [Updates] ‘Bing It On’ Pits Bing And Google In A Face-Off Contest For Search Stakes [Updates] The face-off between Google and Bing may remind you off the clash of the other two titans – Coca-Cola and Pepsi. But it’s still not so much in our faces as yet. But with the... Read More , where organizers claimed that independent market tests found people preferred Bing search results to Google’s results 2-to-1. Back in May, Chris did an image search comparison Bing Images vs Google Images - Which Has Better Results? Bing Images vs Google Images - Which Has Better Results? Bing’s image search once challenged Google, offering more features and a better design. With infinite scrolling and the ability to search for similar images, Bing was legitimately better than Google at image search just a... Read More  and actually found that Google’s results were better.

For many years, I was a loyal Yahoo search engine user. Long ago, at the urging of my colleagues at work, I tried the ultra-simple looking search engine known as Google, and I was an immediate fan of the search results. I never looked back. Since the arrival of Bing, I might have tested it out once or twice, but found nothing compelling enough to draw me away from Google.

But are these arguments fair? Do “blind search tests” really show people prefer Bing results? And, given my love of all things search engine related, am I simply avoiding Bing because so much of the Internet’s population is active on Google? Is that really fair?

Which Search is Better – Bing or Google?

So, I decided to put my love of all things “search” to good use, and do a formal, semi-scientific comparison between the two search engines. I say “semi” scientific, because ultimately in some way, the evaluation of search results is bound to have a subjective piece. People like search results for different reasons. So, what would be a fair evaluation of search results in order to accurately and fairly compare both textual and image results?

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I went with an approach that covers some of the most popular topical “genres” online – basically a technical topic, a list-style topic, a historical topic, a how-to query, and a health question. For each query, the results are judged at four levels. Fully relevant gets 3 points, a near-hit gets 2 points, a misplaced listing gets 1 point, and a completely irrelevant listing gets 0 points. Again, some of the evaluation is of course a little subjective, but by defining “relevant” as the return of a web page that directly and immediately answers a question or describes a topic, I believe the scoring can be very fair and unbiased.

How The Evaluation Works

To show how this works, I will start with Google and do a search for the phrase “android games“. This should return a listing of Android games, or even better, a review of a variety of games for Android devices. All searches for this article were completed using an anonymous proxy so that the search engine didn’t know who I was or where I was located.

Let’s look at the Google results.

is bing better than google

As you can see, Google listed Androidshock, Androidgamesroom, Techradar and DigitalTrends as the top 5, most relevant sites in this category. For the purposes of this article, I ignored Google’s news listings, since those are not specifically related to the search algorithm.

bing better than google

While Androidshock and Androidgamesroom are basically two sites that serve as a directory of Android games – and both obviously highly relevant to the search term, the Techradar listing is actually more of a blog format review of a long list of Android games. I noticed that the phrase Android games returned about 6 times on this page – hinting that someone at Techradar carefully formatted the page for this term, and carefully made sure not to go overboard with the number of occurrences.

bing better than google

I found that, impressively, all of the top ten listings in Google were highly relevant, high-quality sites that immediately gave access to Android games that I could download, and reviews of those games to help me decide which game I wanted to play.

The Bing search results on this term were similarly relevant.

bing better than google

However, the ranking of sites was clearly different. Bing considers a site like Androgamez as the top, most relevant website for this phrase. I actually found that the site design is fairly unprofessional, with a quite spammy 19 instances of the phrase Android Games. I gave the listing a near-hit. However, Bing did hit the bulls-eye with listings like Google Play, Playandroid, GAmeloft and Androidshock – however Google’s number one choice was actually Bing’s 8th.

bing vs google challenge

This hints that Bing may not be up to the same level of algorithm intelligence when it comes to filtering out those websites that are black-hat SEO focused – utilizing keyword spamming techniques and other gimmicks that Google has successfully figured out how to outsmart at this point.  So, in this round after evaluating the top 10 listings, Google earned a score of 30 out of 30, while Bing earned 27 out of 30. Not bad for either search engine.

Evaluating Text Search

The rest of the search terms were “how do you format a hard drive” (technical), “how did shakespeare die” (historical), “how do I build a patio” (how-to), and “what causes a wart” (health).

Interestingly, both search engines struggled with the technical question. You would thing something as simple as “how do you format a hard drive” would turn up a multitude of high-quality websites with informational step-by-step procedures on how to do just that, with screenshots galore. Well…not quite.

While Google’s number one slot was taken by the PC Support channel of – actually a very well written and accurate guide to format a drive – surprisingly, slot two was taken by a Webopedia article. This article is nothing more than an ultra-wordy, content-mill style article useful for nothing more than to gather up as many search engine visitors as possible, whether or not the article is actually helpful.

bing vs google challenge

Seriously, does it take an entire paragraph to define the word “format” in the intro? Do you really have to describe the difference between format and reformat? If someone wants to know how to format a hard drive, they are looking for the sort of guide you can scan down with a 1, 2, 3 procedure – not a dissertation. So, in this case Google failed with listings like, and a Lifehacker page that didn’t even mention anything about formatting a hard drive at all.

bing vs google challenge

In fact, both search engines listed the erroneous Lifehacker page. However, both search engines did equally bad as well. Google scored a 22 out of 30, while Bing scored an 18 out of 30.

On the remaining terms, the scores lined up as follows:

  • “How did Shakespeare die” – Google (25/30), Bing (22/30)
  • “How do I build a patio” – Google (28/30), Bing (25/30)
  • “What causes a wart” – Google (30/30), Bing (30/30)

Comparing Image Search Results

Image search results are actually a lot easier to grade than text results. Using very specific terms, I just looked through the top 20 images returned to see if the image showed me exactly what I was asking for. For image search testing, I chose specific categories as well – a location, a biological term, a unique technical device, a scientific diagram, and a difficult-to-find health image.

The location term was “top of mount washington new hampshire“.

Any of the top 20 images that literally showed me a photo of the top of Mount Washington scored that search engine a point.

On that search term, Google only got a 9 out of 20.  Bing didn’t do any better.

Bing only scored a 4 out of 20. However it did actually seem to do a little better with returning nearly-related images. That is, not pictures from the top of the moutnain itself, but long distance pictures showing the entire mountain.

On the remaining terms, the scores lined up as follows:

  • “carpobrotus edulis” – Google (20/20), Bing (20/20)
  • “allen bradley plc” – Google (19/20), Bing (17/20)
  • “diagram of relativity” – Google (19/20), Bing (10/20)
  • “human heart being operated on” – Google (5/20), Bing (0/20)

Time Sensitive Searches

The final test of a search engine is how well it returns timely data from the Internet. Obviously, if you search for something like the population of China, you want to know the accurate population numbers from the most recent census. For time sensitive searches, I used the terms: “the population of china”, “how much does gas cost”, and “us election”.

In timely results, Google clearly shines by often display realtime graphs or charts at the top of the search listings.

is bing better than google

However, just taking the quality of search results into account – both relevance and whether the data on the returned pages was the most recent available data on the topic, Google scored a 6 out of 10 for this term. Bing tied with Google with a 6 out of 10 as well.

On the remaining terms, the scores lined up as follows:

  • “how much does gas cost” – Google (4/10), Bing (0/10)
  • “us election” – Google (17/20), Bing (20/20)
  • “diagram of relativity” – Google (19/20), Bing (10/20)


The final tally of scores boils down to the following totals:

General Search:
Google: 135/150, Bing: 122/150

Image Search:
Google: 72/100, Bing: 51/100

Timely searches:
Google: 27/40, Bing: 26/40

I think that it’s relatively safe to say that while I understand people are excited about there being a strong alternative contender in the search engine marketplace, it is way too premature to start claiming that Bing search results hold a candle to what Google is able to accomplish right now.

Setting aside complaints from webmasters that have had their sites beat down by Google’s constant algorithm tweaks to remove spammy sites and content mills, the truth is that Google results really are getting better and more relevant all the time. As the analysis above shows, in most cases Google returns better and more accurate results.

It should be said though, that in more and more cases, Bing may actually return better results. That can be seen throughout the testing above. If Bing can manage to fine-tine its own results in a way that improves upon what Google has already accomplished – it could very well catch up to and surpass the largest search engine on the planet. That may not happen within the next year or two, but it is certainly a possibility within the next 5 to 7 years.

Which search engine do you prefer – Google or Bing? What’s your own analysis of the quality of search results? Share your feedback and opinion in the comments section below.

Image Credit: Target and Dart Symbol via Shutterstock

  1. Garris Rago
    February 28, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    I have an irrational bias towards Google, probably because it's the only search engine I've ever used (aside from trying search engines, or using specific ones for specific tasks) and am just so familiar with it

  2. Artis Zelmenis
    January 26, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Pretty nice article on search engine comparison, worthy to read, yet, I wish to mention something.

    Why you give Bing lower score on search for pictures for a term "top of mount washington new hampshire".

    Quoting you:
    However it did actually seem to do a little better with returning nearly-related images. That is, not pictures from the top of the moutnain itself, but long distance pictures showing the entire mountain.

    But you were not searching for term "FROM top of mount washington new hampshire" or better, yet "PICTURES FROM top of mount washington new hampshire", weren't you?

    if you ask pictures for a term "top of the mountain" then don't wonder that the search engine gives you exactly that.

    In this case seeing your print screen seems Bing just blow Google away.
    Still a nice writting.

  3. Junil Maharjan
    November 18, 2012 at 4:53 am

    There's no surprise here. But I think Bing did better than i thought.

    • Serge Langlois
      January 19, 2013 at 5:31 pm has been my default search engine and I have PDF, News and other search tab. I love it. :)

      • Naz charania
        January 9, 2016 at 1:27 am

        I cannot change to Bing when my heart is with Google. They do a great job. I tried Bing but they do not come close to Google.

  4. RaMaN
    November 17, 2012 at 6:46 am

    I always prefer Google. It do good job in verbatim.

  5. Saikat Basu
    November 15, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    When it comes to image search, I used to find Bing better, but Google has improved over the last year.

  6. Easton Wiki
    November 15, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Love Google integrating all other services into search to easily find docs etc.

  7. Erwin Van de Velde
    November 15, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Google is far better in my opinion: Bing may give the same links, but Google gives results. E.g. when I look up a restaurant:
    - Google: the website with specific content parts (e.g. menu, contact) and a map with the location
    - Bing: just gives the URL

    This difference is huge and for me the reason why Bing cannot compete with Google.

  8. Adi
    November 15, 2012 at 10:07 am

    all the way google for me !!

  9. jane manning
    November 15, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Im happy with google so why would I change ? I dont do change and therefor would rather read articles like this to find out if things are any good. I often google reviews on software etc so I guess thats what Im sticking with

  10. Nikhil Chandak
    November 15, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Google is better than Bing , but Bing is also good

  11. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    November 15, 2012 at 5:35 am

    I'm still on Google. Used to be an avid Yahoo user, but Google search beats everything. At least for now.

  12. DB
    November 15, 2012 at 3:15 am

    always luvin me some goog search...powerful, fast & neato.

  13. Terafall
    November 15, 2012 at 3:06 am

    How comparison between google/bing and duckduckgo

    • Adi
      November 15, 2012 at 10:11 am

      yes , i think duckduckgo can give good competition to google soon

      • Matjaz Mirt
        November 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm

        Interesting article. I would also like to see how can do vs google & bing.

        • Ben Klaas
          November 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm

          Duck Duck Go has been my default search engine for close to a year after reading and . I've come to really rely on the ! operator it provides as well

          All that said, I'd be willing to bet that Duck Duck Go would not score nearly as well as Google or Bing in this particular test (though would like to see the results of such a test). Because of everything mentioned above though, I'm willing to accept a slightly less capable search engine (when measuring just results set).

        • RaMaN
          November 17, 2012 at 6:55 am

          Thanks for those Valuable links!

        • Ryan Dube
          November 19, 2012 at 6:08 pm

          Thanks - it would definitely be interesting to see how the scores match up. We'll have to take a look at that.

        • fish
          December 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm

          I've just tried the same search terms on DuckDuckGo. The results are certainly interesting. I'll not summarise them here because I'd like to encourage people who have never tried DuckDuckGo to give it s shot for themselves.

          I've used Google for many years but I am getting very close to switching to DuckDuckGo.

    • John Smith
      October 30, 2015 at 11:55 am

      Am I right in thinking DuckDuckGo uses results from Bing/Yahoo!? (Yahoo! uses results from Bing) I have read so in numerous sources, and also, after submitting my website to Bing, it promptly appeared in DuckDuckGo results as well. Note: My website had been in Google search results for months.

  14. Scott Moody
    November 15, 2012 at 2:33 am

    I have long been a Google user and continue to be. For the average web surfer, it is going to be a highly subjective preference. I remember the day when Google was just a search engine ;-)

    As for the Microsoft propaganda stating that Bing beats Google 2 to 1, I would be extremely interested in knowing WHY people chose one over the other. Does Bing have a prettier page or are the actual results better. They don't mention that. Ahhhh, the wonderful world of misleading advertising.

  15. Brian Mok
    November 15, 2012 at 12:52 am

    I prefer Google over Bing, but Bing looks way better.

    • Ryan Dube
      November 19, 2012 at 6:07 pm

      I agree - I am always impressed when I decide to visit Bing. The graphics/layout are just wicked cool.

  16. Adam Campbell
    November 15, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Googles tactics, though potentially unscrupulous, are definitely better

  17. Félix S. De Jesús
    November 15, 2012 at 12:11 am

    For Me, Google is the Champion, even when you drag an image, in most of the times, you really finds pages or images appeared in websites. :)

  18. Justin Su
    November 14, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    The erroneous Lifehacker page was due to the server coming down because of superstorm Sandy. All posts were redirected to its backup server, which only had the lastest posts.

    You could have accessed the page by using the cached page on Google.

    • Ryan Dube
      November 19, 2012 at 6:07 pm

      Cool - thanks for the explanation. The good thing is that it counted equally against both search engines, so didn't really push the scores in one direction or the other.

  19. Joel Lee
    November 14, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    I tend to be an adventurer of new options, particularly with software and Internet-related activities, but Google is so familiar to me that I can't bare to try Bing. It just doesn't FEEL like search, if that makes any sense.

    Thanks for the comparison, though. Google isn't perfect but Bing surely isn't either, it seems.

    • Javier Vega
      November 15, 2012 at 2:39 am

      I agree, Google seems to be a more accurate search engine, at times is just natural for me to search on it, it feels like THE search engine at least for now.

      Bing may need some time to mature before competing head to head with Google, but is good to know that alternatives are on development, maybe in a year this comparison will be tougher.

    • Ryan Dube
      November 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      It does make sense. I think that's why I've resisted for so long as well, and will probably resist for that much longer - at least until Bing manages to get a bit more competitive with its search algorithm.

  20. Christopher Webb
    November 14, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Yeah, Google is the undisputed champion of the algorithm.

  21. Eserpess der
    November 14, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    I saw the heading of the article and I was like...

    • Ryan Dube
      November 19, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      You guess the right answer. :-)

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