Web & communication software

Bing vs. Google: The Web Search Wars Heat Up

News

Google News is more customizable than its Bing counterpart.
Both sites show a few important stories atop their news home pages, followed by clusters of links to multiple sources covering the same story. Google News is more customizable, letting you change the layout of news sections and personalize each section to show more or fewer stories. As for news searches, Google includes links to more sources on a given topic, and it seems to do a better job of clustering stories; a recent search in Bing for "Steve Jobs" returned three separate clusters on the recent ninja star fiasco, which wasn't even that important a story to begin with.

Winner: Google

Travel

Bing has a dedicated section for planning trips. Sponsored search from Orbitz allows you to look up flights, hotels, and cruises, but the best feature for flights is Price Predictor, which guesses whether current fares should be pounced on or passed up. Similarly, hotel search advises you on whether the rate is a deal, just average, or a rip-off. This section is no contest, because Google has no travel section--but that could change with the company's acquisition of ITA Software.

Winner: Bing

Maps

Google and Bing engaged in a map feature war last year, and Bing emerged with more to offer. The Silverlight-enhanced version of Bing Maps includes apps for finding gas stations, parking, food carts, and much more. It also provides landmarks and other notes in its directions ("If you reach Glencoe Ave., you've gone too far"). I like Google's minimalist approach, which is a hair faster than that of Bing, is easier on the eyes, and provides more alternate routes when traffic looms. But Bing is more powerful and generally more informative, and that's what counts.

Winner: Bing

Events

Bing's Events results are ultimately more helpful than Google's.
Like Travel, this is another useful category where Google is absent. Bing Events is a simple list of upcoming happenings, powered by the Website Zvents. For instance, a search for "music New York" returns concert listings in the Big Apple, sortable by date and relevance. For some locations, Google shows a few happenings if you search for "events in (city)," but it's not a full-fledged search option.

Winner: Bing

Next page: Shopping, mobile options, and wild cards

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