Thursday, July 4, 2013

Does Google Know More than Bing?

I have noticed that Bing has mounted an advertising blitz to get people to move away from Google. Since my Firefox makes it easy for me to choose either search engine, I figured it was time to see if Bing could do anything for me (again). Having recently written a season preview for the Ives Quartet, I decided to use their name (in quotes) as a test case. The results were a bit amusing on two fronts.

I decided to restrict my attention to image search. is (rightly) picky about our using images only with proper permission, and recently they sent out a memo on how to set up Google Advanced search to that end. Bing lets you do the same but through a slightly different (and easier) interface. Thus, it was interesting that, while Bing did not give me any hits for this restricted search, Google came up with a Flickr image with permission granted by the source.

What was more amusing, however, was what happened before I filtered the search. The sixth top hit on the Bing result turned out to be a publicity photograph of the Eroica Trio! The explanation was logical enough: An announcement for an Ives Quartet performance for the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society mistakenly included a photograph of the Eroica Trio. Nevertheless, I was impressed the Google seemed to recognize this photograph as erroneous, while Bing just assumed that a keyword match on the Web page text was sufficient to validate it. Should Bing change its name to GIGO?

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