Looking at Bing
Microsoft has just now released their "new" search engine, Bing. For one, they got the name right this time. Did you "bing" that? You get the picture. :)
In recent history, highly hyped search engines, aka "Google Killers", have bitten the internet dust in a sad way. Over the last couple of years or so, Ask, Cuil, Searchme, Cosmix, and now Wolfram Alpha had raised the expectations to great height with marketing and media campaigns (remember "Algorithm", the marketing campaign of Ask?). When you raise the level of hype the way it has been done in the past, the chances are that people will give you at least one look. You have to look really really good when they do, for they may never look back at you. You never get a second chance to make first impression, as some philosopher once said.
Well, back to Bing. I chose a few queries to test-drive this spanking new package over the good ole Microsoft Live search. So, what do we see?
This was something on my mind, since my son asked about it last night. Of course, CMU refers to Carnegie Mellon University. And what do we see on Bing?
And on Google?
And on Yahoo?
Well, Google and Yahoo are bang on target. Bing? Putting Central Michigan University above Carnegie-Mellon in search result for CMU? You must be joking!
Query: Tata Nano
Bing gave me some stale news, Wikipedia link, and link to Tata Motors. Google? the same, minus the news bit. Yahoo? took me to tatanano.com - now that is the winner!
Query: who won britain's got talent 2009?
Bing and Google does better than Yahoo on this, essentially based on number of wiki or answer links. The only one where the name of the winner (Diversity) showed up in the results was Google, so that would be the winner.
I did some more queries:
"green sand beach big island hawaii",
"best 1080p tv under $1200",
"SFO to BLR",
"height of Kilimanjaro",
"dust mite allergy symptoms",
"Where is Timbuktu",
and, finally, "Britney Spears" (the ever popular query).
In none of these queries, any search engine consistently outshone the other. They more or less found the same old results, had the same old presentation, and very often needed me to sort through the 10 blue links to find the answers.
I guess there is still a lot to do in improving search. Will Bing take us there? We will have to wait and see.