Bing search might not be good enough to beat Google

Bing Search
(Image credit: Getting Images)

Bing is still, in my opinion, not as good as Google. Is it the same Bing I tried years ago? No, but in recent days my frustration with its results reminded me why Google still leads this race.

Ever since Microsoft launched the ChatGPT-enhanced Bing (also known as AI-Enabled Bing), I've put aside Google, a search engine I've trusted for almost 20 years, and performed all my searches through Microsoft Bing in the Edge browser.

I have spent a lot of time in conversation with Bing's Chat GPT. It's a great way to create multi-faceted searches that explore not just a single query but one that has multiple components, like, "How do I make a romantic dinner for two that features fish and can be completed in under 30 minutes?" Bing's Chat is really good at answering these questions and guiding you on a journey of information discovery. It's also good at exploring ideas and engaging in occasionally bizarre conversations.

The problem is that Bing Chat is not really the same as Bing Search and the latter still often fails or frustrates me in ways that Google almost never does

I'm not saying that Bing search is bad. I often get decent and detailed query results (Bing tries to stuff a lot of information into every result page, which may or may not be a good thing), but I just as often find that the first Bing result misses the mark. 

For example, when I want to find something on a website through Google, I use the prompt "[SITE:URL.COM] query" which would translate for TechRadar to " iPhone 15". Such a query on Google always brings back exactly the articles I need from said site. Bing doesn't really understand that query and the results show it.

Bing result for TR and Lance Ulanoff

(Image credit: Future)

When I searched " bing ulanoff" on both Bing and Google, Bing's results begin with an ad for Microsoft Advertising followed by "Articles by Lance Ulanoff". I have to scroll down to see the first article by me about Bing. At least it is the most recent post on the topic. Google's results are a list of all my TechRadar articles on Bing. It's in relevance order, which means that the most recent post about Microsoft bringing Bing to Windows 11 is the fourth result.

By the way, I did do my Google searches in "In Private" browser mode to ensure that my previous Google activities didn't influence the result.

Google result for TR and Lance Ulanoff

(Image credit: Future)

It's this and how often I need to refine my initial Bing query to get the required result that makes me realize that it will take more than a ChatGPT-enabled Bing to beat Google.

Part of the problem is that Microsoft's Bing is less AI-enabled than it's offering a Chat alternative. That Bing ChatGPT experience is extraordinary and it should rightly have Google concerned. However, most people are still using basic Bing and when I use it, I don't have time to engage in a conversation or exploration of my query. Usually, I need accurate answers fast.

For now, that's what Google consistently provides. Bing isn't far behind but it's still not good enough to replace Google as my favorite search engine, at least not yet.

Correction 3-2-2023: An earlier version of this post claimed Bing couldn't identify the CPU in the iPhone 14. Turns out it was me forgetting that the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus still run the A15 Bionic, while the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max run the A16 Bionic. I regret this error.

Lance Ulanoff
Editor At Large

A 38-year industry veteran and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered technology since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a former Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, before that, Editor in Chief of and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He also wrote a popular, weekly tech column for Medium called The Upgrade.

Lance Ulanoff makes frequent appearances on national, international, and local news programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC.