Posted June 26, 2009 10:02 am by with 5 comments

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A study of twelve people is not statistically relevant, but it does make for interesting headlines!

According to the Catalyst Group, 1 in 3 Google users preferred the search experience of Bing over the search leader. OK, so that was actually 4 of the 12 total people that Catalyst studied in a report obtained by TechCrunch, but hey, Bing will take all the good news it can get, right?

What is amazing is that when the test subjects were asked to rate Bing on specific criteria (visual design, organization of features, filtering options, and relevance of results), Bing handily beat Google in everything but result relevance. Arguably, that is the most important criteria, but most of the study participants thought that both search engines tied on result relevance. So even though Bing ranked better on design, and tied on relevance, that was not enough for most of them to switch.

Here’s a breakdown of the strengths of each search engine:

You can grab the full study here.

  • Did Dentyne actually only talk to 5 dentists then? What are the odds that 4 of them would make the right choice?

    This is pretty funny though considering the state of Internet Research which is more like the Wild West than anywhere else in the Internet game.

    So you know, Andy, you have a 100% approval rating on this post (1 out of 1 liked it).

  • Asking indoctrinated Google users to judge relevance is like asking people who have read only propaganda to determine the rational truth of the universe. A sampling of 12 users is, as you point out, way too small to be significant. But Google’s definition of relevance (using Wikipedia as a news source, for example) is laughable.

  • Joseph Hadley

    I actually like Bing, enough that I switched a few days after the search — er decision — engine was released. The interface was much more friendly and warm and I find it takes me fewer keystrokes to find what I want, so I spend shorter time on Bing than I did on Google. But, I agree that Google’s results are more relevant than Bing’s. Of course, as Martinez says, what defines relevance is what people are looking for, and unfortuantely, also relevance is defined by what people have come to expect — Google’s results. But I switched anyway, and I don’t miss Google at all.

  • The analytics are out and Bing is definitely making a splash down here in South Africa. It is proving much more popular than Yahoo! (which admittedly doesn’t offer local search here) and than MSN ever was, and I’ve seen this reflecting in analytics for a range of websites.

    Microsoft is onto something good here, and along with the advent of WolframAlpha Google isn’t looking as secure as six months ago!

  • Brad

    We at User Centric did a similar study, with more participants and similar results. Check it out at: