Thursday, September 20, 2012

Spurious Bing challenge

Microsoft has been touting its BingItOn challenge on television and the web, purporting to be a fair, blind comparison test between google and bing web searches.

I think this is a spurious claim. Microsoft is including UX from Bing, that is not being included in its Google search results.

Here's what I see at BingItOn if I search for Cleveland, OH:

BingItOn search for Cleveland, OH

The right looks like the obvious winner, no? Why? Because it includes useful UX elements, like plane flights, weather, etc. Turns out that's the Bing side. The left side is the Google side which looks pretty sad. So I pick the right side. Here's the problem - check out what the same search looks like on Google:

Google search for Cleveland, OH

The Google search results does indeed include the same UX elements as Bing, actually it includes more. To be fair, the Google API (which I imagine Microsoft is using) may not bring these elements back, however it is clear that the comparison test is not a fair one.

Microsoft is claiming that Bing beat Google 2 to 1. However if the full user experience of both sites is not presented, how is that a fair comparison?

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