Bing vs. Google: The 2024 Search Engine Faceoff

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Stephanie Trovato
Stephanie Trovato

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Most of us use a search engine all day, every day. Whether you’re instigating serious research or you’re cheating at trivia, the chances are high that Google or Bing are sitting front and center on your laptop and phone.

bing vs. google woman uses search engines on laptop

While Google has been the leader in the search engine space for decades now, Bing has had unprecedented growth this past year. Because of that, we want to take a deep dive into the two search engines once again.

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We’ll look at the history of each, as well as the market share and usage statistics. Then, we’ll dive into how the search engines stack up against one another on interface, ads, and AI. Finally, we’ll determine if there’s a big winner in the 2024 search engine faceoff.

Bing vs. Google

Google and Bing are the two major forces in the search engine game. While many users are familiar with each, let’s take a quick look at the history of Bing and Google. Their interfaces may look similar, but they were each founded with a specific purpose in mind.

Bing

Bing search interface

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Established in 2009, Bing is a search engine owned and operated by the Microsoft Corporation, which was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975.

Microsoft’s first attempt at a search engine was in 1998 when they launched MSN Search. After the original launch, the company’s search engine went through a few transformations, including Windows Live Search and Live Search, until its final iteration as Bing in 2009.

While Microsoft has always been a leader in the technology space, Bing has trailed behind Google in terms of search engine popularity. It’s the second-most-popular search engine worldwide, but its market share is considerably lower than Google’s.

However, Bing has a few key advantages over Google. First, Bing integrates brilliantly with other products in the Microsoft suite such as the virtual assistant Cortana. The search engine also has an image search capability that Google has yet to rival. Finally, Bing seems in many ways to be leading against Google in the AI space.

So, while Google is often positioned as the obvious winner, is Bing catching up?

Google

Google search interface

Image Source

Google is the world’s most popular search engine. It was created in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin who were, at the time, Ph.D. students at Stanford University. Google was a research project with a focus on algorithmic design.

Page and Brin created a proprietary algorithm called PageRank that organized web pages based on importance and relevance. Now, we see traces of PageRank in Google’s present-day algorithm (though it’s more complicated).

By the early 2000s, Google was a leader in search engines, and it was the company’s only product. Since then, Google has created products like Gmail and Google Docs. The company is now a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., which has also made some powerful acquisitions, including YouTube.

Google has led the search engine game for decades because of its unparalleled focus on user experience. But is Google the winner across all variables?

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Bing vs. Google Comparison

Before we dissect the platforms to sort out which is better, let’s take a look at some user statistics to help understand how each search engine is being used. Market share and user statistics will give us some solid insight into their present-day utilization.

Bing vs. Google Market Share

It’s no secret that Google has dominated the search engine market since the platform was launched. However, Bing is certainly making some strides. Expert Liam Carnahan of Inkwell Content shed some light on Bing's market share advancements, citing Statista’s 2023 post.

“Google’s market share in the search industry fell from 87.65% to 83.95% while Bing went from 6.81% to just over 9% by July. Of course, Google still far outpaces Bing, but that’s a significant shift, and there’s a reason to believe it was Bing’s swift actions integrating with ChatGPT behind the shift.”

Google and Bing share the top five search engine spots with Yahoo!, Baidu, and Yandex. Yahoo is owned by Microsoft alongside Bing, and Baidu and Yandex are leaders in Russia and China. So while Bing is progressing, and Microsoft itself owns two out of five of the search engine leaders, there’s no expectation that Google will be replaced as #1 anytime soon.

Bing vs. Google Usage Statistics

There are some key usage differences between Google and Bing when it comes to demographics. Demographic factors can really come into play when you’re considering which search engine to run paid ads on.

Expert James Hebdon of Paid Search Magic broke down some of the usage differences between the two platforms.

“Bing tends to attract an older audience, with the majority of its users falling within the 35-54 age range, and a significant portion also in the 55-64 group. This older demographic is more likely to be based in the United States. On the other hand, Google is more popular among a younger crowd, with a substantial number of its users being between the ages of 18-34.”

It’s also important to note the variances between Google and Bing when it comes to desktop usage versus mobile usage. While Bing is somewhat gaining on Google when it comes to the market share of desktop usage, the company holds less than 0.50% of the market share on mobile. So you can safely assume most Bing users are accessing the search engine via desktop.

Which is better: Google or Bing?

Now that we’ve taken a glance at some platform differences, let’s finally get to the big question: which search engine is better? We’ve asked some experts to shed some light on how the search engines actually stack up to one another.

Bing vs. Google: Interface

The interfaces of Bing and Google are, at first glance, very similar. Users who can maneuver one of the platforms can generally maneuver the other one with ease. However, while Google has stayed focused on providing a smart, algorithm-driven experience, Bing’s focus has been on a sleek and attractive interface.

Bing’s interface prioritizes image-heavy infographics, fusing written answers with visuals. For users looking to have an easy-to-read, visually stimulating experience, Bing may be preferred over Google.

That being said, Google has a minimalist interface that provides comprehensive answers to user’s inquiries, making Google a preferred search engine for users seeking a rich response. This makes it hard to compare Google and Bing because they play to slightly different markets.

Bing vs. Google: Ads

For marketers, the paid ad platform of each search engine is an important part of the debate. Google Ads launched on October 23, 2000, while Bing Ads (now Microsoft Ads), launched over a decade later in 2012.

While Google, once again, beat Bing out of the starting gate, both platforms have grown and evolved since their initial launch. Here are a few key differences:

Cost

Generally, it’s believed that Microsoft Ads are cheaper than Google Ads. While in many cases that may be true, Paid Magic’s James Hebdon provided a bit of insight into that. He argues that it’s difficult to compare prices directly because of the payment mechanisms these sites use.

“It is widely assumed Microsoft Ads clicks are cheaper than Google since there is less competition there. Thanks to reserve pricing and the second-price auction systems each platform uses, it’s not always the case. This has become even more complicated by Google and Bing’s ongoing broadening of keyword matching, making it difficult to compare each platform.”

Demographics

As mentioned earlier, there are considerable demographic differences between the platforms, which can make one platform a stronger fit for a target audience over the other. Overall, Google has a more diverse demographic.

Bing users are older and tend to be United States-based, which makes Microsoft Ads a strong choice for companies targeting that group. However, if you’re seeking a global audience or a younger eye, you’ll likely want to take advantage of Google Ads.

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Format Differences

Both companies offer three general types of ads: search ads, shopping ads, and display ads. However, each search engine has considerable variation when it comes to format within the ads.

When comparing the platforms on the basis of formatting, Google comes out on top. In fact, there are 22 total types of ad formats on Google Ads, while Microsoft only offers 9. This format difference could be a make-or-break for marketers trying to hone in on the most effective ways to reach their audience.

Bing vs. Google: AI

While Google may take the cake in many search engine categories, Microsoft has been the leader in AI discussions over the last year. With Microsoft’s acquisition of OpenAI alongside Google’s somewhat clunky AI launch, there’s certainly a lot to be said about the topic of AI.

Leadership

Jacob McMillen, a leading AI thinker and writer, argues that, while Bing “beat Google to the punch,” neither platform has sorted out their final AI implementation plan. In fact, McMillen is skeptical that Microsoft will maintain its reputation as an AI leader.

“Bing Chat was actually the only place people could go to use GPT4 for free in 2023,” which McMillen argued put them a step ahead of the others. But he’s not confident they’ll hold their lead, as Google’s Gemini launch put the search engine back in the popular discourse.

Authority

Other experts feel that Microsoft’s acquisition of OpenAI helps to boost the organization’s authority, which will only benefit its ability to maintain its spot on the AI cutting edge. ChatGPT users are now using a Microsoft-owned product, and that product powers Bing’s AI capabilities.

“I suspect Microsoft’s partnership with ChatGPT has given them a lot more visibility and trust with power-users of ChatGPT (myself included),” said Liam Carnahan.

With that in mind, ChatGPT users may be more likely to take advantage of Bing Chat over any AI product produced by Google.

Ethics

Finally, Konstantin Sadekov of Ethical SEO provided some input on AI ethics that span all search engines. While AI implementation is fascinating, there are still important ethical considerations at play.

“The use of individuals' content by AI without attribution or compensation raises ethical questions. Currently, content creators benefit from traffic driven to their sites through search engine rankings, justifying the investment in content creation. If AI models are trained on this content and provide answers directly without attributing the original creators, it undermines the incentive for content creation. This not only raises ethical concerns but also questions about intellectual property rights and the fair use of digital content.”

Neither search engine has found a solution for the ethical concerns raised by LLMs like Bing Chat, Bard, and ChatGPT. The ethical comparison of the two companies will continue to evolve as AI law expands. There’s certainly an opportunity for one search engine to take the lead if it comes to an ethical conclusion first.

So who’s the big winner, Bing or Google?

While Google is the big winner in terms of market share and usage diversity, it’s difficult to determine which search engine is better. Bing’s visual interface is appealing to some, while Google’s broad ad platform is appealing to others. The most effective platform depends wholly on what users are aiming to get out of it.

As we head into 2024, each search engine’s continued implementation of AI will be an important determinant of the company’s success. At this time, it seems to be anyone’s game!

Editor's note: This article was originally published in September 2009 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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