While I’m addicted to search like most people, I’m not married to a particular provider. I have a load of search engines in my Firefox search drop-down list which, conceptually, lets me choose the most appropriate one to get the fastest access to the best results. That said, Google has been my default search engine for as long as I can remember and I’ll usually hack through what Google feeds back to me before I bother with others. Just lazy.
Since I’m never happy with anything and feel the need to tinker with everything, I changed my default search engine to Bing a few weeks ago. I like it. It’s not life-changing or anything, but I’m impressed with the results and the flexibility it provides. There are three things in particular I like.
- Each returned entry has more follow-on links than Google provides. If I’m really just looking for the “Downloads” link, for example, I don’t have to navigate to the home page of the searched site and click on that link. It’s in the Bing entry. Yeah, Google does this sometimes, but it’s much more frequently done with Bing. For some sites there is even a search box for the found site inside the the Bing entry (see below).
- I like the “Related Searches” list in the sidebar. In search, sometimes it’s all about how you enter what you’re looking for. When I don’t get what I want, I often find that clicking on one of the related searches gets me there fast just because other keywords were better than those I entered.
- Images. I can’t imagine why, but Bing returns a much better list of images than Google. They’re organized better, too. When you see an image close to what you’re looking for, you simply click on “show similar images” and you get more sizes and varieties of similar images. Nicely done.
- Sports results. I search for sports scores and standings frequently. See below, Bing just does a better job.
Note here that I didn’t include the results themselves as a differentiator. I think that the Bing results are slightly better, but it’s not yet clear to me that this is so. The presentation of search results, though, is much nicer in Bing, IMO. For now, I’m a convert.