Saturday, 04 May 2019 11:53

I USED ONLY BING FOR 3 MONTHS. HERE'S WHAT I FOUND—AND WHAT I DIDN'T

Author:  [This article is originally published in wired.com Written By BRIAN BARRETT]

[This article is originally published in wired.com Written By BRIAN BARRETT - Uploaded By AIRS Member: Carol R. Venuti]

WHAT FINALLY BROKE me was the recipes.

On July 1, I abandoned Google search and committed myself instead to Bing. I downloaded the Bing app on my phone. I made it the default search mode in Chrome. (I didn't switch to Edge, Microsoft's browser, because I decided to limit this experiment strictly to search.) Since then, for the most part, any time I've asked the internet a question, Bing has answered.

A stunt? Sure, a little. But also an earnest attempt to figure out how the other half—or the other 6 percent overall, or 24 percent on desktop, or 33 percent in the US, depending on whose numbers you believe—finds their information online.

And Bing is big! The second-largest search engine by market share in the US, and one of the 50 most visited sites on the internet, according to Alexa rankings. (That’s the Amazon-owned analytics site, not the Amazon-made voice assistant.) I wanted to know how those people experienced the web, how much of a difference it makes when a different set of algorithms decides what knowledge you should see. The internet is a window on the world; a search engine warps and tints it.

There’s also never been a better time to give Bing an honest appraisal. If Google’s data-hoovering didn’t creep you out before, its attitude toward location tracking and Google+ privacy failings should. And while privacy-focused search options like DuckDuckGo go further to solve that problem, Bing is the most full-featured alternative out there. It’s the logical first stop on the express train out of Googletown.

A minor spoiler: This isn’t an excuse to dunk on Bing. It’s also not an extended “Actually, Bing Is Good” counterpoint. It’s just one person’s attempt to figure out what Bing is today, and why.

Bing Bang Boom

Let’s start with the Bing app, technically Microsoft Bing Search. This almost certainly isn’t how most people experience Microsoft’s search engine, but the app does have over 5 million downloads in the Google Play Store alone. People use it. Besides, what better way to evaluate Bing than drinking it up in its most distilled form?

 

Bing offers a maximalist counterpoint to the austerity of Google, whose search box sits unadorned, interrupted only for the occasional doodle reminder of a 19th-century physicist’s birthday. When you open the Bing app, the act of searching is almost incidental. A high-resolution, usually scenic photograph sweeps the display, with three icons—a camera, a magnifying glass, and a microphone—suggesting but not insisting on the different types of search you might enjoy. Below that, options: VideosNear MeNewsRestaurants. (Side-scroll a bit.) MoviesMusicFunImagesGas.

These are the categories Bing considers worthy of one-tap access in 2018. And honestly, why not? I like videos. I like fun.

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