Recently I saw a challenge on MediaWeek from Mel Carson, Microsoft's Advertising Community Blogger. "Use Bing for a week and let us know what you think". Normally I'd say no, but I've seen a few people using Bing and I love Twitter, and Bing is the first search engine to include Twitter results which could prove interesting.
And a change is as good as a rest, so they say. So in a break from the norm I thought I'd take him up on the challenge.
There's a reason why this is going easier than I thought. Normally I'm an absolute Safari fan but I've recently started playing around with the Developer version of Google Chrome. That's a separate story but it enables you to set your own search provider in a way that Apple doesn't in Safari (presumably because there's a Google kickback. Although it seems somewhat odd to be able to forced to use Google on an Apple product, but happily be able to switch to a Microsoft product on a Google program.)
The Bing frog
Anyway. I'm done the requisite change and am now using Bing instead of Google.
I've been using it for a few hours and have actually little to report. Like most people I use search fairly instinctively and perhaps the greatest thing you can say about Google is that you barely notice any more that you use it. Type in a search term, usually you find what you want pretty quickly and move on to whatever website you're testing.
And it's pretty much the same with Bing. To be honest the whole experience seems pretty familiar. Initial reactions are fairly nonplussed, although I'm pleased to report that after agreeing to a solid seven days I'm not regretting the action by being incapable of finding the most basic information.
Although I have to admit to not being a fan of the green frog. Steve Jobs' "they just have no taste" comment about Microsoft does comes to mind. I wonder what other animals they went through via committee form before settling on the frog? Whereas Google is remarkable clean, Bing has a slightly colourful look that I personally don't care for. But I can live with it.
If you do side-by-side tests with Google you'll notice that they return ever so slightly different results, and Google offers the sub-navigation sections (for Macworld these are News, Reviews, Forums, and so on).
Bing versus Google search results
Aside from that it's actually a lot more similar than dissimilar to Google. Although I'm not sure that's really a good thing. Create a search engine that's as good as Google is no mean feat, but with Google being so closely ingrained to many people's lives you have to wonder what the draw is? Unless MediaWeek is going to convince the whole world to try it out for 7 days, how is "being as good as Google but not much better" a serious business plan?
Anyway. Time will tell. I'll keep you updated.