Blind Search compares search engine results

By Sterling “Chip” Camden
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Taking a page out of Pepsi’s anti-marketing marketing playbook, Microsoft Developer Evangelist Michael Kordahi has created a blind taste test for the search engines Google, Bing, and Yahoo!  Enter your search query, and the results from each of these three are shown sans branding:


You may then vote for the results that seem most appropriate to you, at which point the identities of the three search engines are revealed.

After the first eight weeks online and more than half a million searches, Kordahi published the results up to that point.   Users preferred Google results 41% of the time, Bing at 31%, and Yahoo at 28%.  This has been painted as a win for Microsoft, indicating that Google’s 70% market share is not due to the quality of their product but rather to their brand recognition (insert “pot calling the kettle black” joke here).

In my own informal test, I entered 57 different queries on a wide range of subjects (though with a decidedly geeky slant).  I chose Google’s results 47% of the time, Bing 37%, and Yahoo 16%.  Two of the searches for which I preferred Yahoo were “best search engine” and “competes with Google”, neither of which included Yahoo in the results.   For “best search engine”, all three listed Dogpile at the top.

Here’s the list of all of my queries, with a 1 under each preference:

Search Google Bing Yahoo
august 5, 1945 1 (wrong date, Google helped me find the right one)
august 6, 1945 1
best search engine 1 (yahoo wasn’t in the results, but neither was bing. All three listed dogpile at the top)
blind search 1
bloomsday 1
camden software consulting 1
cheap netbooks 1
chip camden 1
chips quips 1
chips tips 1
chipsquips 1
chipstips 1
closures 1
code samples c++ 1
code samples javascript 1
code samples python 1
code samples synergyde 1
competes with google 1 (yahoo wasn’t in the results)
composition vs inheritance 1
concurrent programming 1
cracking iphone 1
facebook vs linkedin 1
fine as a split frog’s hair 1
geeks are sexy 1
google page rank 1
heavy lies the head that wears a crown 1 (inaccurate quotation, bing led me to the correct one)
howto install apache 1
IntPtr 1
is google doomed 1
is google evil 1
is microsoft doomed 1
is microsoft evil 1
is there a god? 1
is yahoo doomed 1
is yahoo evil 1
Javascript DOM 1
kde or gnome 1
kubla khan 1
let’s do it 1
mint julep 1
peanut allergy 1
programming languages 1
recursion vs iteration 1
redirecting wordpress feeds 1
ruby array class members 1
ruby vs python 1
sauerbraten 1
social media 1
sterling chip camden 1
Synergex 1
synergyde 1
tighten a bicycle chain 1
troilus and cressida 1
uneasy lies the head that wears the crown 1
visitor pattern 1
where are my keys? 1
where is tajikistan 1
Total 27 21 9
Percentage 47.37% 36.84% 15.79%

It’s pretty addicting, and I have to admit feeling surprised and a little dirty every time I picked Bing.  How about you?  Go give it a try.