Bing Search After A Year, The Good And Bad

Martin Brinkmann
May 4, 2011
Updated • Dec 10, 2012
Microsoft, Search

You may know that I have switched by primary search engine from Google to Bing sometime last year. I was fed up with Google for several reasons, including their constant push of Google owned properties into the search engine results and the deteriorating quality of search.

I suspected that Bing's quality was not really better as that of Google, but I wanted to make a point, and thought it would be interesting to see how I would do with Bing as my main search engine.

When I say Bing I think of an English search engine. Yes, Bing has localized sites but the results there are not good at all. That, and Microsoft's obvious concentration on the US market forced me to switch to localized Google search engines for many non-English queries.

Bings English results are not as bad as many Internet users might think they are. Plus, it has some features that Google does not have. What I really like is that the official site is highlighted on Bing search results.

bing official site

The association that the first entry on the search results page is always the official site is not always correct, and this may help users distinguish between official sites and unofficial ones. It is on the other hand brand related, Ghacks for instance has no official site listing on Bing.

I also like that there is generally less advertisement and Microsoft properties on search results pages. Yes, there are some queries where you see ads all over the place plus links to other Microsoft properties, but most pages are cleaner than Google's.

The quality of the results depends highly on your searches. I'd generally say that Bing displays less splogs (Spam Blogs) and exact keyword domains with thin content in the results. This may be because most sites like those tend to concentrate on Google when it comes to SEO.

For some searches, I had to switch to Google after searching on Bing for a while. This can be mainly attributed to Google's time filter which Bing only displays on some results pages and not all.

narrow by date

I personally like the time filter a lot, especially on searches where "old pages" are shown on the first search results page. This happens for Windows troubleshooting searches a lot. You search for something and see that only Windows XP or Windows 2000 results are shown, even though you are looking for Windows 7 results. Adding Windows 7, or other descriptive terms helps sometimes but not always. A limit to display only search results of the past year does wonders to the results though. This has helped me more than once, and I consider it essential.

The biggest factor that is holding Bing back in my opinion is the concentration on the US market. Sure, it is Microsoft's home market, and concentration on a single market works for other search engines, Baidu anyone, very well. But Microsoft wants to compete with Google and not Baidu, which means that they have to improve the results on their localized search engines and the features on those search engines to compete with the almighty Google (Google has a market share of 90%+ in many European countries, which makes me wonder why the EU never stepped in here.)

I do about 80% of my searches on Bing nowadays, and the remaining 20% on Google. I usually switch to Google if the Bing results do not turn up the right results, or if I want to use a localized search engine. Bing's results have improved over the course of the year.

Have you tried Bing?


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  1. john said on June 8, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Bing has a great image search and excellent video search, I like the fact I can view videos within Bing and “turn down the lights” without going to crappy youtube and having to view inane comments. Also it’s shopping portal is much more useful and most of those specalized functions vis-a-vis to Google.
    Like you stated Bing’s superority over Google is the fact that there is less spam however that’s really it’s only benefit. Search wise it’s google 1.1 the content of it’s searches excluding junk aren’t any better.

  2. SubgeniusD said on May 16, 2011 at 5:21 am

    I started using Bing when it came as the default search engine with Opera 10.5 (formerly had been Yahoo). Image, video and maps are as good as or better then Google and I use it for lots of random, general interest searches. After a number of “spot checks” comparing identical search term results I kind of lean toward Bing for non-technical related searches now.

    After trying various technical searches on Bing I’ve pretty much defaulted back to Google (except for tech shopping which Bing does well). As Martin mentioned the time frame is critical and pages of entries with references to Windows 2000 or Fedora Core 4 are quite unhelpful.

    Also with Google I use these specialized search parameters for OS related searches. will automatically greatly refine search results. Check out the cool home pages.

  3. Sanix said on May 8, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Bing results are getting more valuable especially after the Google Panda Update because spam and scrapper sites have gotten on top of Google’s first page especially in Technology niche. I find it in almost 80% of queries that I have to go to page 2 or 3 to find the exact thing I’m looking for while Bing results seem to be much more accurate.

  4. Mike said on May 6, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    “I do about 80% of my searches on Bing nowadays, and the remaining 20% on Google… Have you tried Bing?”

    I find this deeply amusing. If I couldn’t get everything I wanted out of one search engine, I would not use that search engine.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 6, 2011 at 9:08 pm

      I find it amusing that you assume that I find 100% of what I’m looking for on Google.

  5. benrp said on May 5, 2011 at 9:00 am

    I made the switch a few months ago and am now a huge fan of Bing. It is hard to get used too but after a while you brake the habbit of using Google and now I wouldn’t use anything else.

  6. Dan said on May 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    I’m using Yahoo Search which is now powered by Bing. And it’s a disappointment. The search engine is good enough for generalized queries such as “dvd player” but nearly worthless for more specific searches like “dvd player problem hp laptop”. Since I’m trying to use less Google web products (though I still like to use their desktop products like Chrome and Picasa), I had high hopes that Yahoo or Bing would be a decent alternative to Google, but they’re not.

    I also agree with you, the time filter in Google can be a deal breaker. If Yahoo or Bing implements something like it, I would enjoy using their search more, even with inferior search results.

  7. Alain said on May 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Hi Martin,
    I also have installed another main search engine (Ixquick) in my Firefox for reasons analogous to those which you mention.

    Ixquick provides search on HTTP or HTTPS, can be installed in any number of languages, can be integrated into Firefox’s “awsome bar” and does not record your IP address and does not keep a record of your searches.

    I still go to Google for Tech search results which Ixquick does not cover to my satisfaction.

    Anyone interested in those features can take a look at

    Thanks for your always pertinent and timely advice.


  8. Paul(us) said on May 4, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Hoi Martin, Did i overlook it but i still cant find a firefox add-on or userscript what gives you to possibility to look on bing with https? Do you know such script or add-on? Please let me know.
    And the same goes for the possibility what i have with google namely the ext ion after google /ncr what gives me the possibility to look with a English / American based language search engine. Do you know such a fiirefox add-on or userscript please let me know.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 4, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      Bing does not appear to offer https Paulus, at least a manual connection is redirected to the standard http protocol. You can use this url to use the US version of bing:

  9. skykid said on May 4, 2011 at 11:50 am

    I have tried Bing , but it doesn`t work nearly as good as Google. It can`t even properly index my site unlike the rest search engines out there so I don`t think I will be making a switch to them anytime soon

  10. Tom said on May 4, 2011 at 11:28 am

    The feature I like most with BING is the image/picture search. You can scroll down and down until the last picture is found -way better then google.
    On the other side: as system administrator I need to search (and find!) a lot of “technical stuff” and on this field google is a LOT better than bing …

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