We live in an era where information is seldom accessed by means other than online search. Speed, simplicity and accessibility have reinforced this global-phenomenon. The World Wide Web has vastly integrated multiple sources of information on virtually any topic, giving rise to various search engines.
Some of the more popular ‘web-crawlers’ includes Google with its lion-share of the market. Google is the largest search directory globally holding approximately 65% of the market. Some of the more significant competitors include Yahoo and Bing holding approximately 16% and 13%. Although there are very few comparative studies and there are often subjective viewpoints, with search technology continually evolving, it is worthwhile to explore the pro’s and con’s of these predominant search ‘machines’.
Microsoft’s Bing has been presented as a decision engine. As of 2010 Bing also powers Yahoo! Search and targets four information categories of search engines: shopping, local, travel, and health.
Pro’s of Bing
- Bing comes packed with search tools such as an Explorer Pane for refining searches, Quick Previews, and Sentiment Extraction for making sense of product reviews.
- It is known for good add-ons, including travel and local results.
- Generates comprehensive and relevant image searches with endless scrolling.
- There are useful features such as the table of contents that shows up often in the upper left column.
- It has an easily accessible search history with enhanced utility due to the silverlight-enhanced format.
Con’s of Bing
- Although owned by Microsoft, it is relatively young having been unveiled in 2009.
- Bing tends to lag in search engine optimisation and lead generation as it attracts less site visitors.
- Technical search results are found to be weak compared to other search engines.
- Bing buries the news search off the main page and one has to click further.
- Some typical searches can be weak with less relevant results.
- Bing and Bing related links like Bing Blog can be sluggish leading to a poor community experience.
Yahoo! Search is a search engine owned by Yahoo! Inc. and is the second largest search directory on the web.
- Yahoo has done well to integrate search results with its rich network of content.
- The new interface is useful for customisation, for instance connecting to other sites such as Gmail without leaving yahoo.
- Some say that Yahoo’s arguably has the best capabilities for appropriate and targeted display advertising.
- Yahoo has personals advertisements and jobsites on the main page or accessible from the main page.
- The downside of customization part is that not all sites will be integrated with the new interface and harmonisation takes time.
- Additional customisation is sleek, but Yahoo performance has seemingly taken a hit as compared to other search engines.
- Yahoo does not have a book search or desktop search feature.
- Yahoo does not incorporate user generated videos like Google Video.
Ranked number one in market share Google is probably the most renowned search engine. They determined relevancy primarily on their PageRank algorithm.
- Holds the all-round reputation for generating the most relevant results.
- Continually evolves with improvements and updates to enhance quality of results.
- Offers enhanced and unrivalled features such as Street Views; Google Maps.
- In Search engine optimization, Google’s algorithm here is what most corporations contemplate when optimizing their websites.
- Google SEO allows websites to attract more visitors, which can translate to greater revenue for the operators or site owners.
- In relation to other search engines Google returns results very quickly, even on less common or misspelled keywords and with spelling suggestions too.
Although very few comparative cons, even Google isn’t a perfect search engine.
- Some searches still yield results with little relevance on top. For instance searching for reviews will more than likely produce more hits on marketing content or products.
- Google search credibility is likely to be strongly influenced by trends in the SEO market which can make relevancy of results less ‘natural’. Of course one can argue that all engines can be impacted accordingly.
It must be remembered that there are a number of variables affecting search engines and that there is a definite subjective aspect to a comparative analysis of this nature. All in all though few would dispute that Google’s no. 1 rank is earned and deserved. Similarly, no one can dispute the wealth of experience and relevance of a pioneer such as the Microsoft backed Yahoo! Search and the relatively ‘new-kid on the block’ Bing. We live in a society of choices and ultimately these preferences are dictated by the unique needs and undertones of each and every individual.