Is Bing Censoring Questions About Microsoft?
Yesterday while doing my daily perusal of Reddit.com’s pic sub-Reddit (always good for a laugh) I came across the headline, “Bing Fail.” Being in the SEO biz, I had to click on it and found the image at the right (click to enlarge).
The poster had searched for “why is microsoft word so expensive?” in both Google and Bing. The results were strikingly different. Google’s first two results were clearly web pages discussing that very question: one on MacRumors.com and the other on Ibibo.com. A look at Bing made me scratch my head…just as the post had intended. It’s first response was to the question, “Why is Manhattan so expensive?” If, in Bing’s algorithm, “microsoft” is the same as “manhattan” I think they need to check their programming. The second and third results were about the differences between various versions of Word.
So, I decided to do a little experimenting on my own. I opened up a Google search tab and a Bing search tab in my trusty FireFox browser. My first question was if Google would disrespect it self? Would it serve up the mud people were flinging at it, which based on the experiment above Microsoft wasn’t willing to do. I thought about the most common criticism of Google and typed it in, “is google too powerful?” (Do the search for yourself on Bing and Google…maybe the results have changed.)
The results (on the right) on Google seemed to show that Google was very willing to let you know people were talking about this issue. And they didn’t just return “Bob’s Paranoid Blog To Share the Insanity.” No…they returned heavy hitters like BusinessWeek.com, The BBC, and SearchEngineJournal.com.
So, next I clicked my way to Bing to ask the same question. Bing returned the same three articles as Google, but they’d helpfully stripped of any and all text that didn’t repeat the question. Hmmm…I don’t recall Bing doing that for other searches.
I also found the difference in the quoted text from the pages interesting. Google’s quotes somehow seem softer and focused on buyouts. Bing’s quotes seemed to use stronger words like, “dominate” and “crush.” Same articles…different quotes? Hmmmm….
So, I did a few other tests and found that Bing doesn’t always cover Microsoft’s rear end. Bing reports well on the recent controversy over Outlook 2010 rendering HTML using Word. They displayed fixoutlook.org in the second position. On the question of why Microsoft doesn’t seem to like following establish standards, Bing dished up quite a few articles, but they felt slightly less pointed than those Google served up?again mainly because of the quoted text. I’ll let you do the searches yourself and see what you think. Please let me know.
I scratched my head and tried to think of what accusation people level at Microsoft that they might not like. Then it hit me, Google’s motto of “Do no evil.” I typed into both search engines, “is microsoft evil?” and again the differences were jaw dropping. (Try it for yourself on Bing and Google.) Google is happy to spit out articles from TheRegister.co.uk talking about Silverlight, a poll on the topic at Mashable.com, and in the third spot, perhaps a post that actually might defend Microsoft, or at least appears to question those that ask the question. Hmmmm….
Then I turned to Bing and was dumbfounded. For the first time in my playing with this topic, Bing returned a news story in the number one position. And…the story was about Google, “How Good (or Not Evil) Is Google?” from the New York Times. The second news listing talks about the pros and cons of proxy servers?? And, the third news item is about Microsoft giving away money. Hmmm…. After that Bing does dish up the dirt with a link to microsoftisevil.com, but they quickly shift to focusing on how Microsoft is killing evil software bugs. Hmmm…
So, what do you think? I’d love to hear of your comparisons on how self-revealing the search engines are. Please leave your thoughts and links below.