Head-To-Head: Bing’s Social Search Vs. Google’s Search Plus Your World

Earlier this year, Google made its results more social with Search Plus Your World. Now Bing has reshaped how it handles social information as part of its “The New Bing” launch. Which does better, Google’s blended search+search model or Bing’s more segregated approach. Let’s look at some examples.

Hey Google, How’s New Girl?

I thought I’d start with a search for New Girl. It’s a great show. I should know. I was a Fan of the Week. What’s Google show me?

The arrows point at things that have come because of social connections, and I’m only going to focus on these things, in this head-to-head. Do these additions seem to help or hurt my results?

Google tells me at the top that someone I know has +1’d the official site. Maybe that calls my attention to it more, but I could take it or leave it.

Further down, my own post on Google+ about being made Fan of the Week appears. I say point to Google. Ego searches are one of the key ways people historically judge search engine relevancy. Can they find your own stuff? Google could.

Further down, the official New Girl Facebook page is listed. It only shows up this high because I’m “friends” with New Girl on Google+. Content that your friends like moves higher. If I turn off the personalization that Search Plus Your World does, that link drops from the top results.

Finally, to the right side is information from the New Girl page on Google+. This is nice to see, helpful.

New Girl On Bing

Over on Bing, there’s less going on. The IMDB listing has a thumbs-up, to alert me that one or more of my friends likes it. I like this a little better than Google flagging pictures. It feels cleaner, less intrusive.

Further down on the page, I’ve shown one of two different links that appear with a trending arrow, to alert me they are currently being frequently shared on Twitter. Again, kind of nice, though also kind of confusing when there’s also a news box.

Bing really falls down in the Sidebar are, where it should really shine. I follow the Facebook New Girl page, but that’s not shown. I do get the Twitter account of Zooey Deschanel, the main character of the series. But why not show me at least the Twitter account for the New Girl show itself?

In the end, I think Google comes out ahead on social integration, in this case.

Google & Penguin

If you’re in the search marketing space, Penguin recently changed from being one of those cute flightless birds to the name of a new Google update aimed at web spam. This seemed a perfect test for the new social features. What would a search for Penguin yield?

Mixed among the regular results, Google gave me three based on my social connections. The top was something I myself had just shared on Google+, a new article I published about Penguin. OK, relevant, but not that helpful. I know I published the article. And really, what I’d rather have is a link to the actual article instead of a link to my post about the article.

After that, more Google+ — this time a post from my news editor Barry Schwartz, sharing a video related to Penguin. Lastly, an article I wrote on Marketing Land.

Overall, these things make sense to appear, but some more variety, some posts on Penguin from others in my social network, those might have been more helfpul.

Bing & Penguin

Next up, Bing:

The Sidebar on this particular query is pretty useless. It’s mostly people who have pictures of penguins. Apparently, none of my Facebook friends have shared or posted anything to do with the Penguin Update.

Over in the main search results, impressive success. Because I and another person have liked my original article on the Penguin Update, it ranks tops in my personalized results.

I call this test about even. I felt Google didn’t give me much variety, but neither did Bing.

X-Games

One of my son’s is big on BMX, so I tried a search for X-Games as a final test. Here’s are the social results I got back, Google on the left, Bing on the right:

Nothing dramatic, really. Wow, I get my own pictures on Google. Might be useful, but since I know X Games itself on Google+, why not at least suggest that? Meanwhile on Bing, I can see that several of my friends like X Games on Facebook, but why not list the page itself?

Social Is Still Developing

In theory, social mixed with search sounds great. In reality, it’s still has a long way to go. For some background on some of the challenges, I really urge you to see my post from earlier this year, When Everyone Gets The Vote: Social Shares As The New Link Building.

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About The Author

Danny Sullivan
Danny Sullivan was a journalist and analyst who covered the digital and search marketing space from 1996 through 2017. He was also a cofounder of Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, MarTech Today and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo and MarTech events. He retired from journalism and Third Door Media in June 2017. You can learn more about him on his personal site & blog He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.