Bing Gains on Google, But Still Way Behind

Microsoft's new search engine Bing is closing in on 10 percent of the query market, as the company has reported a 4.5 percent increase over July. That's good news for the search engine, which I've tried and reviewed, and consider an excellent product. The less-good news is that, at 9.4 percent, Bing is still lightyears behind Google search, which continues to command about two-thirds of the market.

Months ago, I asked whether Bing could actually be better than Google. At the time, I wrote that many of my searches were getting nearly identical results on Google and Bing (you can compare results yourself at this Bing vs. Google site). But if the engines were twins, it was as though "Bing has taken its twin to beauty school and enrolled her in intense summer classes." In other words, Bing was sleeker and exceedingly good at narrowing consumer searches by suggesting further search terms and allowing users to preview pages in the results box.

After a couple conversations with James Fallows, who still prefers Google for its ability to return more news-worthy results, we decided that Bing might be a better consumer tool, but Google remained the premier research tool. Maybe that's why my relationship with Bing now is a bit like my relationship with my new suitcase. Sure it's more attractive, with better stitching and neater pockets. But when I go away for the weekend, it always remains in my closet. As a journalist (who doesn't shop online) I just see no reason to change what works for me, and Google does.

Also, I just can't imagine the phrase "Can you Bing that for me?" ever coming out of my mouth.