Last night, I began playing around on BlindSearch, which returns results from Google, Yahoo! and Bing, but doesn't tell you which one is which. Then, you vote for the results you like the test and it reveals which search engine you chose.
BlindSearch was developed by a Microsoft employee, but not on the company dime or time. (Plus, if it was designed to trick you into liking Bing, it would be entirely too easy to prove that it was tampered with.)
I searched for things I've been searching lately. Waterproof watch, flip flops, Bahamas. (My family is going on a cruise this fall.) I was surprised at how many times Yahoo! results were the ones I liked.
Then I searched topics I'm very familiar with. "Thyroid cancer" (was diagnosed over 6 years ago) and "Synthroid" (which keeps me alive). The best search engine was Bing. This was also the results I felt the strongest about my vote. I know exactly which sites I would want to send people to if they got thyroid cancer and Bing ranked them the best.
It made me think - why am I searching on Google so much when the results I trust the most on topics I'm an expert on - are on Bing?!
On topics where I'm more of a casual observer, though, it was difficult to even choose a clear winner. the results are virtually identical for so many searches. The idea that Google is superior is definitely a myth.
It's clear that we're at a crossroads in search. Too many searches must be refined and the results the Big 3 engines are giving us are pretty much the same. Whoever is able to reduce task time in search will emerge as the next winner.
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