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Google vs Bing: Is one search engine really much better than the other?
When it comes to searching the internet, your mind probably jumps to Google. But what about Microsoft’s search engine — Bing? It isn’t as popular or commonplace, but it’s certainly a viable alternative to Google and offers a handful of exclusive features to sweeten the pot. The latter includes a new ChatGPT-like chatbot that can assist you with complex search queries. But what else separates Google vs Bing and which search engine comes out on top? Here’s everything you need to know.
Google vs Bing usage: Which search engine has the most market share?
Neither Google nor Microsoft discloses the exact number of searches or active users they serve each day, but third-parties paint a clear picture of who is in the lead. Broadly speaking, nine in every ten searches take place on Google.
According to Statista, Google enjoys an 84% market share in the desktop search engine race and the lead extends to 95% in the mobile market. Bing puts up an admirable fight with a nearly 9% market share in the PC space, but it doesn’t even break past the one percent market share mark on mobile. While these numbers may seem bleak, it’s worth keeping in mind that Bing gets over 12 billion searches every single month.
Bing serves one in every ten computer searches worldwide, but it's more popular in some countries.
To summarize, Google’s worldwide market share ranges between 85 and 95%. Bing, meanwhile, is a clear underdog, despite the fact that it has been around since 2009. Still, it has managed to corner nearly 10% of the desktop search engine market all by itself. What’s more — many smaller search engines like Yahoo and DuckDuckGo rely on Bing’s results as well, making it far more dominant than the numbers might suggest.
Moreover, Bing has the upper hand in certain regions like the United States where it claims to have served over 30% of total search results at one point. It’s also used by Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri digital assistants behind the scenes.
Despite the long road ahead, Microsoft remains committed to Bing and it’s not hard to see why. The company told analysts that it expects $2 billion in additional revenue each time Bing increases its market share by a single percentage point. And even with Bing’s currently minuscule presence, its ads division brings in roughly $18 billion in yearly revenue.
Google vs. Bing: Functionality and quality of results
It’s difficult to gauge the quality of results for the billions of possible search terms out there. Generally speaking, though, Google and Bing will both meet the needs of the average user. Both search engines allow you to search for text, videos, images, news, and even popular shopping websites.
In our use, we found that both search engines delivered reasonably accurate results. Both offer a list of links to relevant web pages as you’d expect from a search engine. In fact, the result pages don’t look that different from each other too. Bing and Google will sometimes pull snippets of text from trusted sources like Wikipedia. Finally, Bing will often also provide a visually rich infographic alongside the search results, as shown in the above screenshot.
Both Bing and Google deliver similar results, at least for simple search terms.
Moving on, Bing will often summarize text from multiple sources if you ask a yes or no question. Google will attempt to do the same thing, but its response only ever includes a single source. That doesn’t necessarily make Bing better, however, as we’ve seen both make mistakes even if they cite the correct sources.
If you prefer using Google products like Maps, you might prefer using the search engine as well. Bing Maps, for example, doesn’t offer the same depth of traffic data and businesses as Google’s mapping service. On the other hand, Bing takes the win when it comes to searching for videos as it provides a visual interface and embeds the video player directly within the website. These are minor differences, but they have a noticeable impact on the usability of either search engine.
Does Bing or Google have the better AI chatbot?
In 2023, Microsoft announced Bing Chat — a conversational chatbot that makes searches seem more personalized and interactive. It’s based on the same technology as ChatGPT, which Microsoft has poured over ten billion dollars into so far.
AI chatbots like Bing Chat shine when you need answers to complex questions. Some examples include planning a holiday or picking out a gift for a close one. Here’s a sampling of Bing Chat in action on mobile:
The difference between ChatGPT and Bing Chat is that Microsoft allows its chatbot to search for live information on the internet. This makes it incredibly powerful in practice — you can use it to find matching pieces of furniture or compare various products from a certain standpoint. With traditional search, you’d need to perform multiple individual searches and do your own research.
Google does have a rival in the form of its Bard AI chatbot, but you cannot use it yet. Even though we saw the company demo this technology a couple of years ago, we’re still waiting for it to make its way to the broader public. Even when Google’s chatbot does arrive, it’s unclear how it will compete vs Bing Chat or ChatGPT. The latter’s underlying GPT-3 model benefitted from years of fine-tuning, both publicly and behind the scenes.
Can Bing manage to overtake Google?
It’s unlikely that Bing can steal Google’s thunder and become the top search engine globally. This is largely because Google pays billions of dollars to keep its position as the default search engine on many devices.
According to analysts’ estimates, Google pays Apple roughly $15 billion to maintain its default status on the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook. We also know that the company mandates the installation of Google Mobile Services (GMS), Chrome, and other apps on virtually all Android phones. Microsoft, meanwhile, uses Bing as the default search engine on Windows and the Edge web browser. For the past decade and a half of Bing’s existence, Microsoft hasn’t tried to make it the default search engine for rival operating systems and web browsers. That means it’s unlikely to change now either.
Users can change their default search engine, of course, but most people simply do not venture into the settings menu. That’s a key reason why the Microsoft Rewards program exists — it incentivizes users to download the Bing app and use it on all possible platforms.
Having said that, Microsoft does have an ace up its sleeve in the form of Bing Chat. According to Microsoft, Bing Chat helped the search engine surpass 100 million daily active users for the first time ever. But by the company’s own admission, Bing remains a “small, low, single-digit share player” vs Google. Will that change in the future? Only time will tell.