And then, we get to the areas where there aren’t direct comparisons. Google has a lot more going for it than I’ve shown so far. There’s Book Search, Google Scholar, Google Finance, the translation service, and a few other odds and ends. These are all really useful, valuable tools. I won’t detail them here, because anyone who cares has known about these for a long time now. Still, they work, and they work well. They matter. And Microsoft doesn’t have much of an answer to most of them.
But Bing can now say the same about a few things they alone offer. Have a look at their Travel results page for a particular route:
There’s a wealth of information here that’s never really been brought together like this before. Right away, I see how much this fare is going to cost me today and whether the price is likely to go up, down, or hold steady. I can see prices by day on a simple calendar view, I can see the history of lowest fares on a graph, and – of course – I can search for specific flights. This is huge. And there’s a similar breakdown for hotels:
This is not too different than the many travel-oriented sites already out there, but there’s one key difference: Bing is focused on informing you, not selling you. Bing also brings some really nice intelligence to a variety of searches. Google does the same, sometimes (like flight status), but Bing goes further. How about a search for a Mazda 2? Or malaria? The size of Alberta?
This is really helpful. Rather than scour through web pages, the information you wanted is right there.
The verdict: None. Luckily, you don’t have to choose. Want to search through books? Use Google Book Search. Want to find a cheap flight? Use Bing. Until one search engine eclipses another here, there’s really no reason to choose one. Use the tools that are out there.