April 16, 2011

Switching to Bing in Firefox 4 - Easier than Ever

It's been a little over a year since I made the switch to Bing and today I'm very happy with the change.

I switched to Bing because they have a much better privacy policy than Google and not because I thought they had better search results.

I'll admit that I still found myself going back to Google every once in a while for the first few months. But three things changed in 16 months since I made the choice to get out of Google and I rarely ever need them any more.

The first is that Bing results are much better than they were in late 2009 and early 2010. When I first made the switch, I'd have to resort to Google for one or two searches out of every ten. I just wasn't getting the results I needed every time with Bing. Today, I think I head over to Google about one out of every 50 or so searches. I almost always find what I'm after on the first page of Bing results. They really have improved the size of their index and the ranking of results in the last year.

The second thing that's changed is that Google results seem to have fallen off of a cliff in that same time. Now when I do head over to Google because I'm not getting great results from Bing, I often find Google's results are worse -- and not just a little worse, but overrun with spam and completely useless worse. Now, more often than not, when I don't get a great result from Bing, go to Blekko. If I see the slightest bit spammy results from Bing, Google is not the answer, Blekko is.

The third thing that's changed is that I've learned Bing. I can't be a lot clearer on what that means, except to say that without realizing it, or understanding precisely how, I'd learned to craft my queries to optimize for how Google works. The same thinking about queries didn't map perfectly to Bing but after using it for a while, I just started getting better results and I think it's because I learned, without quite realizing it, how to talk to Bing in a way that Bing understood better. Like I said, I can't be a lot clearer, but I do think there's something to this. So, if you don't get great results from Bing on the first day, do think about using it for a bit longer. I think you'll adjust quickly and your results will improve.

OK, so you're convinced? Or you're willing to at least give it a try? Here's how:

In Firefox 4, simply click the Google logo in the search box. That will give you a pop-up that offers a number of other search services. Third on that list is Bing. Click that and you're ready to search with Bing. Here is a nifty animation showing how easy it is.

making Bing the default search in Firefox

See, simple, wasn't it. If you make the switch, or even just try, please let me know how it goes. I'm very interested. If you haven't made the switch or even tried, I'm interested in hearing about that as well.

Posted by asa at 6:54 PM