Software

The trouble with Bing

With one simple example, Bing shows why it is not ready to overtake Google.

While working on the redirection of articles from Builder AU to our new home here at TechRepublic, we needed to do some searching to find out where some of our articles original homes were.

The article in question in this piece is this one, which was replicated on our sister ZDNet Australia site.

Let's check Google:

Microsoft dallies on open source -- Google

Everything is in order and as it should be.

As a bit of a test, I wanted to see what Bing would return. This is the result:

Microsoft dallies on open source -- Bing

That's not the best, I'll follow its advice and use the plus notation:

If I went to the top link, I could find the story, but this is meant to be a search engine and it should be returning the article whose title is "Microsoft dallies with open source".

In one last vain attempt I decided to use quotes around the title, maybe that would work:

No luck there either. In fact, the second and third links point to an article, but it is the wrong one!

Firefox is offering a build with Bing as the default search engine, but after this experience (and many other related queries) I wouldn't want to use it.

The frustration stems from the fact that even when using quotes and plus notation, Bing could not find the primary source yet Google found it first go.

As a test, let's come back in a month or so and see if Bing can find the quote in this article.

About

Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...

27 comments
RipVan
RipVan

It might not be a big thing to you, but when I want to look at what my yard looked like five years ago, I go to Bing Maps. I didn't think about it until last year when my sister told my brother that she saw his new fire pit on Google Maps. I wondered if mine was there, too. It sure was!! But the Bing Map shows a pretty primitive area out here... Maybe they are both always updating different parts of their mapping, I don't know. But just that aspect makes Google look a lot more on the ball than Bing. Sorry about late replies around here, I don't get to read often...

Lightning Joe
Lightning Joe

...due to that platform's policy of retaining user info on their searches "indefinitely." WE use "Scroogle" (www.scroogle.com) to SCrape the user data from our search requests, and the ads from the responses to those requests. Our responses come back as a simple page of links, with no ads and no monitoring -- 20, 50 or a hundred responses, as we wish. Now, I wouldn't HAVE any problem with Google if they actually followed their own advice not to "be evil." But any retaining of my personal data IS evil, in a simple websearch function. Hence, I DON'T "google" anything at all. I "scroogle" it. In Firefox, first find the pages, and then put a link to the actual search page on your toolbar, and you are data-retention-free.

Darren B - KC
Darren B - KC

Bing's results are always "all over the map" compared to Google. I use Google every day, but every so often I will try a search in Bing just to see if it has improved any since the last time I tried, and I'm always disappointed and confused by the results.

dpbakeril
dpbakeril

not a single person noticed that a Beta version of Bing was used, and that articles such as this prove anything outside of the author's own inability to provide worthwhile or in-depth information outside of attempting knocks on products.

brianvessells
brianvessells

Actually i find bing but one of my search engines, and the results i have found have been relevant to the material search. the only thing i have found Bing to out-place google is it's "local" area suggestions...Give it a week and you will see what i mean. So far, Google is the the only other search method mentioned so a comparison must be made...In the end Google is a bit more "functionable" than Bing, lol... but I am sure they pay attention to these little critiques and respond accordingly.

JWM_AZ
JWM_AZ

My first ever attempt with Bing was to find a tech-related article for desktop support . . . and it's first returned link was to a PORN site (???!!!). I was NOT impressed. Warily I've tried it two other times (at most) - since 2009 - and have not been any more confident in the results. In fact, whenever I configure a new machine one of the first things I do is remove Bing as a search option for the browsers (a bit of a pain).

Kent Lion
Kent Lion

Not sure why this is coming up now. Shortly after Bing came out, I discovered that it wouldn't search for exact strings (appeared to ignore quotes), and that adding words to the search didn't seem narrowing the search. Haven't had a reason to try it since...

maj37
maj37

Waht kind of game are you playing? I did the same search you started with in Bing and and got results similar to what you show but Google didn't return anything like what you show.

daboochmeister
daboochmeister

Anyone notice that the Bing results consistently return results depicting open source as harmful or more costly? Is there any explanation or rationale for the disproportionate (compared to Google results) number of results negative toward open source? Just asking, not tin-foil-hatting it.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I got the same results, and I don't search for cnet articles so I am not likely profiled by Google.

HENpp
HENpp

Bing's asinine phone number return in searches is much more troubling for what it does to business offices. Some end users accept the first phone number they see in a Bing search result as the one they are trying to find. They believe that phone number was, in fact, placed there in the Bing search by the organization in question. There is no training for searching, so the results need to be presented in a way the lowest hanging fruit cannot misinterpret.

codepoke
codepoke

I watched the Ted talk about an information bubble. It seems Google modifies your searches based upon your previous click-throughs. If it sees you regularly clicking through on a specific type of document, it tends to put that type of document at the top of your search results. This is, of course, a two edged sword. You tend to see what you've always seen, which is comfortable, and not to see uncomfortable information. That said, I got identical results to yours on Google, and only somewhat improved results on Bing over what you've recorded. :-)

BdeJong
BdeJong

Now try and find a microsoft document on google and all you get is stupid articles about microsoft and nothing technical. In fact it looks like Google boycots Microsoft sites alltogether. Put it in bing and you will find the tech(net)paper you where looking for. I don't like either, getting to much commercial junk and little to no informative content through both of these search engines.

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

of ZDNet? Flame bait much? Yes, I sometimes visit the ZDNet site, the original not AU, and while there are useful ditties, many times the "discussions" degrade into a pixxing match, with the primary characters just repeating the same old tired tripe.

jos.paglia
jos.paglia

Just search my address on Google maps. No problem. Tried the same on Bing maps (typed the same way, which is the way I would address a letter), and got nothing, so I had to manually zoom in. Bing had very old image data, compared to Google's which appears to be *only* a couple years old (although, Bing's images do appear to be sharper).

bboyd
bboyd

https://ssl.scroogle.org/ or with Firefox use SSL everywhere from the Electronic Freedom Foundation (eff.org) and you start forcing more and more sites into secured mode.

PCF
PCF

...and I remove Bing as fast as I can on all of my systems. I haven't tested it much this year, but prior to it failed me each time I tried, so I always revert to Google (heck, I'd use Yahoo before Bing!).

awgiedawgie
awgiedawgie

- I've found that adding words to a Bing search usually broadens the results to include even more items that have absolutely nothing to do with what I'm searching for. And I've noticed the same thing about it ignoring that a phrase is in quotes. - Also, like others have mentioned, I've found that when searching for something open source-related, Bing either returns everything BUT the open source results, or it flags them as harmful. Of course I can't prove it, but my personal theory is that M$ has engineered it that way to keep people from finding the open source information they want, forcing them to purchase software that does the same thing (or in many cases, doesn't). - And like Palmetto and others, I always have better luck finding Microsoft articles - be they TechNet, KB, or otherwise - using Google instead of Bing. You'd thing that M$ would make sure that their own search engine would at least find their own articles better than anyone else's search engines. Makes you wonder...

bboyd
bboyd

Thank Google(TM) for its wonderful insight into your desires and wants. /Sarcasm off Both of you should Scroogle it if you want unmodified searches from Google. Likely the author uses The CBS family of website a lot more than normal resulting in searches tuned towards results from them.

Lightning Joe
Lightning Joe

Microsoft is an old-school master, as setting up the business environments that will best advance their own interest. That was the whole REASON they wanted a search engine to start with, duh! Of COURSE they are going to play the hand they've dealt themselves! So my own radar has had me avoiding Bing since its inception, as I do ANY new Microsoft product if I can.

Lightning Joe
Lightning Joe

Scroogle (the Google SCraper) sends each new search request through as an anonymous query, effectively starting google's user-analytics over from SCratch at each new request. Way to stay anonymous, dude!

Slayer_
Slayer_

Be it Technet, KB, or MSDN, Google is better. Frequently MSDN doesn't even have object and function lists together, I end up Googling them and end off at a page that looks almost the same as the last, but has no (obvious) links to the previous page.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I usually have better results looking for MS 'Knowledge Base' and 'TechNet' content with Google than with Bing. I was really surprised the first few times I tried it; I would have expected MS's search engine to at least be the best tool for finding MS content. It's not.

codepoke
codepoke

When I search for an MS tech doc on Google, I find it immediately.

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

I just did a Bing of "Microsoft dallies with open source", less the quote marks, and the link to THIS ARTICLE was the third search result returned! Maybe you have too many "Google bugs" skewing your search results.

lars
lars

Whenever the subject of search engines come up, I point out the irony that Google is better at locating pertinent information in MS sites than Bing is.