Search Engine Innovation: Bing vs. Google

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. It would seem that for a while now Search has not really evolved much, it’s been a little over 10 years now since Google came to life and there’s hasn’t been much change in the way people search the internet. Maybe there have been some changes to improve things under the hood but really, on the surface Google hasn’t changed that much over that time.

In recent years Microsoft has been making an effort to try and close the gap on Google and I now thing their efforts are actually paying off! While not necessarily in favour of Microsoft I think it’s definitely contributing towards consumer benefit. I will get to that later on in this post.

Over the past few years Microsoft has invested in revamping the MSN Search and has come up with Windows Live Search, Live Search and most recently Bing. You can see some of my previous thoughts and posts onLive Search in the Windows Live category on this blog.

There’s no doubt that Microsoft search engines have evolved a lot over the past few years and whilst I don’t always like the background images that popup on Bing there are some features in Bing that I really like. Most importantly the scrolling image search & the instant video preview in Video search. The scrolling image search has got to be be the best feature ever, I really liked this feature too when it was there for the standard search back in Windows Live Search. I just hate clicking next!

Also, if you go to the US version of the Bing search you’ll notice that they’ve rolled out some new features such as specific searches (Shopping & Travel) in addition to Visual Search and sharing of search history as can be seen in the image below.


If you think Microsoft are not on the right track for search innovation then wait for it! Google is FINALLY actually doing something about their search engine too. They’re apparently about to roll out a new look & revamp of their current search site and by the sounds of it, they’re doing similar things to what Bing is doing which gets me back to Microsoft contributing to bringing the best services to consumers! Just by forcing others to continue to innovate! See the article Google’s New Design Gets Official & Google’s New Look Is Mobile Too for more info.
Finally, one feature that I would REALLY love to see in future search engine’s is what I’ll call UserRank! I think in the time of social networking it would make some sense to allow user’s to contribute to the ranking of sites and not just rely on page ranks …etc, and while this approach does have some implications and potential of unfair usage here’s how I think it would work:

For each search result that appears in the results page the page would have a button similar to Facebook’s I Like this’ feature. This button would then allow the searcher to tag a search result as useful and then contribute to the rank of the search result. I think this feature if implemented successfully can be good in that if someone was searching for something and finds a useful search result after a lot of digging then the useful result’s rank would improve based on how many unique ‘I Like this’ have been done and as a result the next person searching for the same thing would find a useful result without having to do all the hard work again.

Anyway, that’s just an idea! Maybe it makes some sense Thought’s anyone