Talking tech since 2003

A week ago, I proposed a challenge to myself. I challenged myself to “Bing It” for an entire week. I will admit there were times during the challenge where I had wished I could Google something, however, I was able to make it through the week without Google search. It was definitely a great experience overall because had I not challenged myself I would not have attempted to use Bing for a full week let alone an entire day. I’m going to break this review up into what I liked about Bing, what I didn’t like about Bing, and what I think is good, but could be better.

What I Liked About Bing

Home Page:

The home page is definitely an interesting subject, because, I love Google’s home page – clean, simple, gets the job done. However, I also really like the Bing home page. It’s clean (not as clean as Google), simple, stunning, and informative. The images that are displayed on the Bing home page every day are completely stunning. There is a lot of great photography out there and I really love how Bing integrates a new photo every day into their website – it looks fantastic. When I say informative I’m referring to the captions that you can find by hovering over certain parts of the image on the home page. Each caption has to do with the photograph and provides links to further information about it such as where in the world this photo is from.

The home page also displays a few of the most popular trending topics on the bottom right which makes them easily accessible. By having the latest trending topics on the home page you always know what is going on in the world. I’m not always up to date with the latest celebrity gossip or news, but I knew people were searching about Kate (from Jon and Kate Plus 8) when she took her kids to the beach. Little things like that help make the experience a good one. This of course was helpful to me when I was looking for information on the tragic Air France crash – I always knew when there were new developments.

I should note Google does have trending topics as well which can be found here. The Bing equivalent of that page is called xRank.

Image and Video Search:

I absolutely love the way Bing handles image and video search. I think Bing has done a fantastic job with regards to displaying image and video results. When it comes to image results, one thing I really like is that you can still view additional results even when you click one result in particular. This saves you from having to press the back button every time you want to view more results. I also like how when you click “show full size” it opens the image in a new window as opposed to the same window. Again, this saves you from having to press the back button every time. As for video, I love the video preview. It really helps eliminate results that may not be what you are actually looking for.

Additional Search Descriptions:

Bing provides additional text descriptions as well as other links on the page by hovering on the right side of the result. This is extremely helpful when you the default text description isn’t enough information for you to decide whether that result is helpful or not to you. It definitely is a time saver by allowing you to get a better idea of what’s on the page without having to go there only to find out that page only mentions a particular keyword that matched your search and doesn’t actually answer the question.

Bing Travel:

Bing Travel is pretty sleek. It allows you to easily compare prices (using numerous services including Bing Travel), find the best deals, and even helps you decide when to buy plane tickets or book a hotel room. You really have to try it for yourself to get the full idea, but, I used it to help a friend of mine book a hotel in New York City and it could not have been easier to find an amazing hotel at a great price.

What I Don’t Like About Bing

Indexing Speed:

I’m not sure how often Bing crawls sites or what they claim as to how fast they update their indexes (if they even made such a claim at all) but, it just doesn’t seem to update as fast as Google’s. I would post a new blog entry and I wouldn’t see it on Bing for a quite a decent period of time. I set my site to ping Google, Live (now Bing), and Yahoo as well as a number of other sites once I post a new blog so they will come crawl my site and find the new post. Now I did not check to see if Google (I wasn’t allowed, remember?) indexed my new blog entries right away, but, based on my past experience I can only assume it picked it up faster than Bing.

What I Think Is Good But Can Be Better

Search Relevancy:

As I mentioned in my initial post I was going to do my best to evaluate search relevancy with a very open mind. I feel I was able to do that. I evaluated Bing’s search relevancy by how well it was able to help me find what I was looking for. That being said, I would give Bing a B (hovering very close to a B+) for a grade with regards to search relevancy. I was able to find good information, however, there were a few times where it took a bit more keyword revising than I am used to. That isn’t what made me decide to give a B as opposed to the B+ though. The real issue was that I noticed in some of my search results if a websites home page included the same keywords as the actual page which talked about what you were searching for, it would list the home page first instead of the more relevant page.

I would have to give Bing an overall grade of B+. It is definitely a solid product which I expect to only get better over time. I plan to continue to use Bing, however, I don’t think I am completely ready to “switch” if you will. Google is still my main man, but Bing isn’t the odd man out that Live Search was.

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