- Internet & the Web
Google, Yahoo, and Bing: Which Search Engine is Best?
Google, Yahoo, and BIng
Many people want to know what the "best" search engine is. Capturing about 95% of searches in the United States are three major players: Google, Yahoo, and Bing. While the answer to that question will always be subjective, I will attempt to answer the underlying question of "Which search engine seems to generate the most relevant results?" To do this I will perform three common searches and evaluate the results. The searches will be:
- Lou Gehrig's Disease
This is a medical condition known as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. The idea here is to be able to evaluate the level of medical information as well as how well irrelevant information (such as that about Lou Gehrig the person and baseball player) is discarded.
This search will provide me with how well the search engine can aticipate my desired request, assuming that I want the current weather for my area.
- unemployment news
This will test the respective engines' news feeds for a particular topic. Specifically I will be looking for recent, informative pages on the subject.
Results For "Lou Gehrig's Disease": Google
Having revolutionized the way searches are made, as well as controlling over 70% of the search engine market in the United States, one would expect Google to Perform fairly well in these tests.
Google claimed to return "about 529,00" results. For these tests we will bee looking at first pages only. The first result was a link titled "Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease)" with links to Google Health, Mayo Clinic, Medicine Plus, and WebMD, all trusted medical websites. In addition, it provided 8 unique websites, all dealing specifically with the disease, not the person. However it did return subsidiary results from Wikipedia and lougehrig.com about the person.
Utility of links: 5/5
Relevance of links: 4.5/5
Results For "Lou Gehrig's Disease": Yahoo
The results from Yahoo were less than spectacular. There were no helpful links to trusted medical sources up at the top. The top two results are from kidshealth.com and wikipedia, neither of which is a trusted medical source. It also puts news in the middle of the page. Presumably one would not be searching the internet with these keywords for news on the topic, but that is what Yahoo provides. In addition, two of the sources on the first page (not subsidiary links) are not medical at all (lougehrig.com main page and wikipedia entry on Lou Gehrig).
Utility of links: 2.5/5
Relevance of links: 3.5/5
Results For "Lou Gehrig's Disease": Bing
The results were a bit mixed with Bing. Like Google, it had a larger result at the top, and in it were links to respected medical sources like Mayo Clinic, Medline Plus, and Healthwise. It also has related conditions (which I am not sure is entirely useful) and related medications (which may be useful). The rest of the results for the search were a bit disappointing. There were only five other results on the page for my search topic, as it spent most of the second half of the page suggesting and showing the results for related searches. This may be helpful in some instances, but it was not particularly useful in this test.
Utility of links: 4.5/5
Relevance of links: 3/5
Results for "weather": Google
The weather result was clear and easy to read with pictures, current temperature and sky conditions, wind, and humidity. It also included a 4 day forecast. Underneath the forecast it included links to top weather sites including The Weather Channel, Weather Underground, and AccuWeather. My main issue was that they did not cite where they got their weather information from.
Utility of result: 4/5
Relevance of result: 5/5
Results for "weather": Yahoo
The weather results for Yahoo were disappointing. To start, before you even get to the current weather and forecast, you have to look past two sponsored links, which we all know we are not looking for. Additionally, the forecast is only a 3-day forecast. It does have the daily high/low as well as the anticipated sky conditions.
Utility of result: 3/5
Relevance of result: 5/5
Results for "weather": Bing
I was pleasantly surprised with how thorough Bing was in regards to the weather. It lists a five day forecast, and on each of those days the high/low from three different weather websites: Intellicast, Foreca, and iMap Weather. The weather pictures are clear and easy to understand, and you know where the information is coming from.
Utility of result: 5/5
Relevance of result: 5/5
Results for "unemployment news": Google
Google listed three major newspaper websites as their first results, the top being the Chicago Tribune (local to me). I found that useful. Underneath that was the news feed for unemployment, the most recent being from less than an hour earlier. Nothing particularly impressive here, but not too shabby either.
Utility of results: 4/5
Relevance of results: 4/5
Results for "unemployment news": Yahoo
This is where Yahoo shines. The news feed is first and foremost on the results page, and additional results are from national news leaders (New York Times, CBS News).
Utility of results: 5/5
Relevance of results: 5/5
Results for "unemployment news": Bing
I felt mixed feelings regarding Bing's shoing on this search. The news feed is not at the top, but in the middle, like Google. It shows national leaders as its top results, like Yahoo. It has video as well, which would be nice if you could tell when or where it was from. When I want news results, I want them to be current, and I can't tell if the videos are current, so they become a meaningless distraction. Also, two of the top page results are from Yahoo news. I was hoping for better unique substance, or a better user experience, and instead found neither.
Utility of results: 4.5/5
Relevance of results: 3/5
And the winner is...
Google, as reigning king of search engines, gets my nod. I was impressed by some of the features of other search engines, but none did everything as well as Google does all-around. The biggest advantage that Google gave itself was in weeding out irrelevant information.
This does not take into account peripheral utilities like email, maps, image and video searching, and the like. As I said at the beginning, the decision for which is best is going to be subjective to your needs and experiences, but on the whole, Goggle outperformed its rivals in my tests.
Comments? Questions? Tell me what you think, and feel free to vote up or share below!