Monday, August 3, 2009

Carrot Time (or Bing vs Google)

If you venture around to PHD at around 3pm, you might see some of us partaking in what is fondly known as carrot time. Whilst carrot time is an important part of the IQ team getting their 5+ a day, it also provided some interesting search insights for us last week.

Some of you might be aware that Google, whilst massively dominant, isn’t the only search engine on the block. Bing, the redesigned & rebranded Windows Live search recently relaunched amongst much fanfare & a 100M USD media campaign. For those of you on IE (& let’s face it, most of the world still is) it is now your default search engine. And to strengthen the assault on Google, Microsoft have (after years of courting) reach an agreement with Yahoo to make Bing the default search across all their portals.

And why should we care? Microsoft have worked long & hard on semantic search (ie the engine understands what you are asking rather than just mindlessly indexing pages). With functionality such as:

• Sports. Bing can directly display scores from a specific day, recent scores from a league or scores and statistics on teams or players.
• Finance. When entering a company name or stock symbol and either stock or quote in the search box Bing will show direct stock information like a stockchart, price, volume, and p/e ratio[17] in a webslice that users can subscribe to.
• Math calculations (e.g., 2 * pi * 24).[18] Users can enter math expressions in the search box using a variety of math operators and (trig) functions[19] and Bing will provide a direct calculation of the expression.
• Package tracking and tracing. When a user types the name of the shipping company and the tracking number Bing will provide direct tracking information.
• Plane ticket info. When 'flights from (to)' is entered in the search box in combination with city names or airport codes Bing provides info on ticket prices and a prediction for the future price trend.
• Flight status. When 'flight status' and/or a flight number is entered in the Bing search box, Bing provides direct current information on the flight status of the particular flight.
• Encyclopedic answers (What is the capital of Germany?). If the search phrase entered in the search box contains a simple question whose answer can be found in the Encarta encyclopia, Bing provides a direct answer to the question from Encarta.

How is this relevant to carrot time? Well the proof is in the searching.

When another team member tried to introduce a rival celery time, we asked the enginges - carrot vs celery

Top result from Google:

A random recipe that happens to have both keywords on the page

Top result from Bing:

A definitive, audiovisual & comical answer to a philosophical question

I know which result I like better. Try it - Bing, it's not just a funny name

1 comment:

  1. And it seems like some people agree with me - with Bing taking (admittedly slight) market share from Google: