Walking into grocery stores as a young child, I’d get overwhelmed at the prospect of blind taste tests. Drinking competing milks, eating rival cheeses, and consuming adversarial donuts was a treat because it meant I got to eat twice the samples as normal. Blind tests are always interesting, especially when you surprise yourself and realize everything you thought you enjoyed in life was wrong. It’s never an easy revelation.
Most recently, I took part in the Bing It On Challenge–A blind search comparison between Google and Bing. Google is ubiquitous, so much so that it’s a colloquial verb for searching online. My search bar is set to Google, my preferred mail is Gmail, and Google even hosts my calendar. Juggernaut doesn’t even begin to describe Google’s presence. For Bing to take on Google, well, it’s an interesting wakeup call if anything. But back to the competition!
The blind search test is hosted at Bingiton.com. Bing asks you to search for anything and you’ll be given two sets of results. You’ll have to choose which you prefer and at the end of five rounds you’ll find out which search engine you actually prefer.
At first I chose Google. It wasn’t an easy choice, as you can tell by the two draws I picked. I’ve found lingering at the results page only makes the choice that much harder since it seems like both sides serve the same content, but in a different order. The big “Take A Rematch” button was there so I thought I’d give it another go.
On my second go I chose Bing! Microsoft couldn’t be happier for me. In fact, in their celebration they completely forgot to include a “Take A Rematch” button. What an interesting oversight…
While I’ll continue to use Google out of comfort, a test like this will hopefully get people to think about the many search alternatives. With so much information on the web it’s hard for one search tool (no matter how large it is) to fit everyone’s needs. That’s why we’ve seen the birth of vertical search engines like Hipmunk, Kayak, and Urbanspoon. Helping people make educated decisions and find the perfect product for them is something we value at WebKite. That’s why our product has a built-in decision engine and user ratings.
The Bing It On challenge might not sway people to switch from Google, but it will hopefully help users realize that there are a number of tools out there to find the right content and make an educated decision online.
On a final note, when Julia, my co-worker, took the test the only search engine she chose was Google. I don’t know what that says about her, but I’m not sure she’ll be traveling over to Bing anytime soon.