It Finally Happened: Bing (and DuckDuckGo) Surpasses Google

Here’s a thing I didn’t expect to see today. A Bing search just outperformed a Google search in relevance. I was looking for a relatively obscure book to reference for an essay I’m writing, and behold!

The Bing results. Note the link. The book is available to checkout in PDF or ePub format at this link. The informational window at right is useful, as well. I was logged into my Microsoft account when I performed this search.
The Google results. With the exception of a blatant scam link in second place, all of these links point to places where I can buy the book. The first link leads to a review of the book in a scholarly journal. The link is nowhere to be found. Notably, none of these links lead to a PDF version of the book, which was one of the search terms. I was logged into my Google account when I performed this search.

I’ve been reading anecdotes about deteriorating Google search quality, and I now I have one of my very own to share.

Update: I wondered what would happen if I tried the same search using DuckDuckGo and the results are actually better than Google, too.

The DuckDuckGo results. Note the link in first place. A link to a dissertation hosted by my university’s scholarly commons is ranked second place. This made me suspicious, since DuckDuckGo prioritizes privacy and none of the other browsers included geographically relevant results, but the engine retrieved the same results when I ran the search through a VPN on a clean cache. Unfortunately the dissertation, though a PDF, was only tangentially relevant to the search. Still, the results are demonstrably better than Google’s.

None of this proves that these engines are better than Google as a daily driver, of course, but they certainly beat the behemoth in this edge case. With Apple rumored to be working on an alternative search service, too, competition may finally be coming to Mountain View.