Catalyst Group finds in a small case study that while users say Microsoft's Bing search engine provides an overall superior experience to Google's search engine, users will remain loyal to Google. If the ratio from the results bears true across the entire Google user base, the incumbent has little to worry about from Microsoft.
Microsoft's new Bing search engine beat Google
in design and search results, but Google has fostered
enough comfort and loyalty to retain users, according to a small study
conducted by Web design firm Catalyst Group
. See the study slides here
Eight out of 12 subjects who were regular Google users and had never used
Bing said that Bing's design was more attractive than Google's presentation,
and that Bing's initial and refined search engine results were more useful than
those found on Google's search engine.
More users felt Bing's features, such as the explorer pane and related
searches options, were organized better, and that it was easier to find and use
Bing's refine and shopping results sections.
However, those who elected to remain with Google said they ultimately would
stick with Google because the search results were similar. Further, the users
were already familiar with Google's Web services and Bing's "decision-making"
and visual improvements were not enough to sway them to Microsoft's $80 million effort
to take search engine market share from Google
"Bing generates interest, but it's hard to take me away from Google because
I'm so comfortable with it," the subjects who chose Google told Catalyst
researchers. "The differences are very small [between the two search engines].
They're too small for me to switch to Bing."
Catalyst said users were split into two groups of six people, with one group
performing a hotel search and the other conducting a shopping search for
digital cameras on Bing and Google. Catalyst had the two groups run both
searches on one site and then do the same queries on the other site to mitigate
any bias effects. Results in the study hail from the first search each group
For the camera ad, the six users spent an average of 4.9 seconds looking at
the top ad on Bing, compared with only 2 seconds looking at the top ad on