Friday, July 10, 2009

Cool tool for comparing Bing versus Google

Microsoft haters deride Redmond's much-advertised new search engine, Bing, as Because It's Not Google. One foolish commentator did a simple search, found that Bing provided 1/10 the claimed number of matches, and derided Bing as deficient. Circa 1996 I interviewed the creator of the Lycos search engine, Dr. Michael Mauldin. At the beginning, Lycos offered users the choice between a "small catalog" and a "large catalog." Dr. Mauldin told me that the vast majority of users choice the large one, assuming it was better. In fact, the small catalog was more selective, and for the vast majority of searches, provided more relevant results.

Comparing search engines is sometimes like the parable of the blind men and the elephant. Do you test popular searches, or do you test obscure ones? How carefully do you examine the results pages? How do you compare special results, such as when Google suggests relevant news articles?

But compare we will, and one Web site makes it a little easier. You enter your test search once, and the Bing-vs-Google tool searches both engines, then offers the SERP from each side-by-side (or, if you prefer, above-and-below).

Click for full size screen shot

In this screen shot, I did a search related to a problem I've got with the touchpad on my HP DV3500 laptop. I accidentally misspelled "touchpad" and Google, as always, offers the correct spelling; Bing says they've got nothing on "tourchpad" and I should try to spell things the right way.

It's a helpful shortcut for folks who want to do lots of test searches. See .