Bing It On Google

Geoff Pickle, Web EditorIn an advertising campaign reminiscent of the Pepsi Challenge taste test, Microsoft has taken on Google in a battle of the search engines.

In its campaign dubbed Bing It On, Microsoft challenges consumers to vote in a five-round, side-by-side “search off,” in which users select the results they favor to five search queries. Microsoft has attempted to remove biases by only showing search results in a similar style and leaving off services germane to just one engine.

Though Microsoft claims users have chosen Bing results over Google’s by a nearly 2 to 1 ratio, my results favored Google. I will say I was surprised at how many times I picked Bing over Google the three times I answered the challenge at, though I did pick Google’s results the majority of the time.

At times, I could tell the difference, and as a user of Google’s search engine for more than a decade, it was difficult not to choose its results over relative newcomer Bing.

Admittedly, I haven’t given Bing’s service its fair shot. To this, I can only say I have no reason to. Google has provided a search engine that works fantastically. And, for the most part, its services in general are top-tier – Gmail, Chrome, Google Maps, Google Docs, etc.

While I am an avid user of the Windows operating system, Microsoft has never impressed me with its other offerings. Installing a different browser – namely Google Chrome – to replace the abhorred Internet Explorer is the first thing I do when I get a new computer, and I don’t think Hotmail can really shake a stick at Gmail, either. I haven’t tried Google’s operating system, so I can’t speak to its quality.

What I think this campaign has going for it is the element of surprise. If you aren’t used to how Google lays out its search results, you might end up picking Bing. On the third try, I attempted to lay my bias aside and vote based on the quality of the results. It didn’t change my outcome. For others, the campaign might be convincing enough to switch to the Microsoft search engine.

Competition is the fuel of capitalism, and it’s never a bad thing to go head-to-head with the biggest and best. It’s certainly an interesting tactic, and using the Pepsi Challenge style is smart, as it is arguably one of the most memorable ad campaigns ever created.

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