You know a brand or business has succeeded when its name becomes a proprietary eponym.
We Hoover up, seal parcels with Sellotape and Google things online.
Or do we?
There’s another popular search engine on today’s market, besides Google. And it might surprise you to discover you’re probably already using it every day…
It’s a Bing thing
Bing is Microsoft’s rival to Google, launched in 2009 as a replacement for Microsoft Live Search. It also underpins one-time rival Yahoo!’s search results.
Bing is baked into Microsoft’s Edge web browser, which is pre-installed on Windows devices.
Apple fans will also be relying on Bing results every time they ask Siri for assistance.
Like Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana, Siri relies on Microsoft technology rather than Google, as many people might have presumed.
Follow the leader
Google has expanded into many sectors, from smartphone operating systems to budget laptops, but its search engine remains its core product.
If you use an Android phone, you’ll have a Google search bar installed, and web browsers including Firefox rely on Google.
The Chrome operating system and titular web browser are built around Google search capabilities, while Google Nest devices inevitably use the parent company’s search tool.
Advantage of Bing
For the purposes of this article, we’ll ignore corporate back stories, and focus on each search engine’s relative strengths.
In terms of a straight choice between Google or Bing, Microsoft’s offering has a more stylish interface, with greater use of arresting visuals and backgrounds.
Many people argue Bing’s image search facility is superior, while searching for video clips reveals greater detail on each file than Google would present.
There’s superior privacy here, with Bing more interested in your location and language than your history of web browsing and searching.
Finally, Bing can generate biweekly SEO reports, which is a more straightforward (if less granular) alternative to the endlessly complex Google Analytics SEO management tool.
Advantages of Google
In a head-to-head comparison of functionalities, Google offers more. You can buy books and read scholarly literature here, whereas Bing doesn’t provide these core features.
Google also stores more user data than Bing. That compromises privacy, but increases the accuracy of search results because it has more context about what you might be looking for.
Although neither company discloses how it ranks content, Google does seem better at displaying recently-posted material, and its ranking algorithm is also revised more frequently.
It’s less susceptible to SEO gaming by keyword stuffing or social media spamming, meaning results are often more impartial than Bing’s.
Plus, Google owns YouTube – the world’s second biggest search engine behind its parent – making this an obvious place to head for relevant video results.
So which is best – Google or Bing?
When one company enjoys over 90 per cent market share, you can be confident you’re dealing with a strong product or service.
Google’s dominance in the UK is genuinely impressive, and it’s a superb search engine, but it’s not a monopoly holder.
Bing offers some notable advantages, and in many instances, you’ll be using it by default anyway.
In many cases, ‘Google or Bing’ is the wrong question to be asking, since both have distinct merits.
Bing’s mapping is less likely to crash a web browser than Google’s, yet the latter offers superior detail.
Bing underpins more smart speakers, but Google is dominant on mobile devices thanks to a mobile-first indexing approach that prioritises smaller screens over desktop devices.
Whichever search engine you favour, you’ll be benefiting from decades of incremental refinements and carefully curated results.