North Forsyth Switches to Bing


It has become somewhat of a running joke that Bing provides embarrassingly low-quality search results compared to Google. In practice, however, that is proven simply untrue. Google and Bing provide very similar search results, contradictory to common knowledge.

Jack Scott, Staff Writer

North Forsyth High School’s computers have a new, unpleasant feature: the default search engine is Bing. Bing, considered to be Google’s incompetent opposite. The quality of Bing searches is widely thought to be simply inferior to the quality of Google searches. But is it really? I decided to conduct a small experiment to see which search engine North Forsyth found better.

I went around North Forsyth with two sheets of paper. One had the first page of Google search results for “history of Saint Petersburg Russia,” and the other had the first page of Bing search results for the same search. I asked twenty random people which page of results they thought were more relevant to the topic. Surprisingly, most people stated that they saw no substantial difference between the Google search results and the Bing search results. For those who did choose a side, Bing won, but only slightly.

I repeated the experiment with twenty new people, but this time I did not disclose which search engine was which. The search this time was “symptoms of cholera.” The results, interestingly, were largely the same. Most people saw little difference between Bing and Google. However, the gap between them was a bit greater than earlier. In both tests, Bing and Google both provided many of the same websites, which explains why most of the responders saw little real difference between them.

Bing’s notoriety for low-quality searches does not hold up under scrutiny. Rather, it seems that both search engines produce remarkably similar results. Google still dominates in terms of usage, but Bing is becoming more relevant. According to comScore’s 2015 search engine rankings, 20% of US searches are now powered by Bing. 65% of searches in the States are still powered by Google, however. And globally, Google is still very much the default search engine.

In some ways, Bing does things better than Google. For instance, Bing video searches provide large thumbnails with previews, unlike Google. In most cases, Bing provides eight autocomplete suggestions instead of Google’s four. However, Google does a better job at finding results in blogs or large forums.

Microsoft actually challenged internet users to a direct comparison test between Bing and Google, called Bing it On. It proudly proclaims that when put to a side-by-side test, most users preferred Bing to Google. While the validity of these claims may be questionable, the test does prove that Google and Bing are hardly that different, and it can be easy to mistake one for the other.

So if Bing and Google provide remarkably similar results, then why did North Forsyth choose Bing as the default search engine on its computers? I interviewed computer science teacher Mrs. Rush to find out.

Q: The school recently locked Bing as the default search engine. Since you are a computer science teacher, can you give any insight as to why the school might want to do this?

A: I have absolutely no idea. I know there was a county update during the winter break.

Q: Why do you think that Google is so much more popular than Bing?

A: That’s a good question. I don’t know that Google is better than Bing, but I think that overall the consumer has accepted Google as their preferred search engine, and Microsoft is trying to catch up.

Q: That makes sense. Which search engine do you personally prefer?

A: Google. I prefer Google, but if I can’t find it with Google, I do also use Bing, just to see what Bing can bring up.

Q: Considering that Google is still bookmarked, do you think making Bing the default search engine was a wise choice?

A: I don’t know the reason for the choice, I just know that my students prefer Google.

While the reason why Bing is now the locked default search engine on school computers is still a mystery, my investigation did reveal that Bing is hardly as bad as internet memes would indicate. Bing and Google, in terms of quality, are much more similar than common knowledge says they are. In some ways, like video search, Bing is better. It comes down to personal preference when deciding which one to use, but for now, Google is the king of search engines.