Despite a series of upgrades and minor improvements in the search market, Bing has struggled to assert itself as a force in search. In its latest attempt to assume a more prominent position, Microsoft has rolled out “Bing it On” to allow users to test search results from Bing against SERPs from Google.
BingItOn.com presents visitors with the option to conduct a search query, and they receive results from both Bing and Google without any indications of which is which. (Marketers might want to use the tool to see how they perform on the different engines in a side-by-side format for their core keywords.) As users will not see any branding from either Google or Bing, they can choose which SERP best answered their query without influence from the company’s name. After doing so five times, the site reveals which engine it chose after each search.
Of course, Bing it On may not always have Microsoft’s desired effect… In a test of the tool, Brafton entered queries for “boston”, “arsenal fc”, “heart disease”, “Advil” and “Britney Spears”. Each time, our team selected Google results as the preferred SERP.
Brafton also highlighted a feature similar to Bing it On rolled out by startup engine Blekko in 2011. The tool, dubbed 3 Engine Monte, allowed users to conduct a query on the engine and see results from Google, Bing and Blekko. Much like Bing it On, users would see results from all engines before choosing which SERP best answered their question (and Brafton’s team similiarly found Google offered the preferred SERPs…). Ultimately, Blekko saw little improvement in its search share as a result of the tool, but Blekko has carved some niches for itself.
In its blog post announcing the site, Bing suggested that its search quality is on par with Google. Launching Bing it On could help Microsoft convince some users that its results and overall search quality have improved enough to warrant a switch from Google. However, the ultimate challenge for Bing has never necessarily been an inferior search engine (though Brafton has pointed out that some say Microsoft has less robust crawlers. Google has been a mainstay in search and provides high-quality results, so users aren’t inclined to change their habits.
Currently, the search market tilts heavily in favor of Google. Brafton reported that Google accounts for about two-thirds of all search queries in the United States based on data from different research firms. The launch of Bing it On could help compel users to consider Bing, and the company has also rolled out other search features in its effort to attract a larger audience. Brafton recently highlighted the rollout of the Bing search app for users of devices powered by the soon-to-be released Windows 8.