Online Job Startups: Amazon Mechanical Turk, Sooquini, TaskRabbit, etc., What You Need to Know

[Note: First of all, we are redesigning the format of Blue Bugle. We have not been active for more than a month now. In August, we did not have even one post going. There have been quite a number of technological advancements in that month. We covered none of them, but none of our regular readers missed us still. The reason being, there are no regular readers; probably! We have been trying hard to develop readership by posting honest reviews of products and good advice to smartphone and tablet buyers that you can get nowhere else. Not even on professional technology blogs. Still, we are not gaining readership, because we have been posting only what people feel they can find elsewhere. If they do, there is absolutely no need for Blue Bugle to exist.

Hence, we are changing. From now on, you will get blatant entries on what we really think and know. We are going to be ruthless to anybody that rips you off. We are going to show you what you need to do. We are restructuring the posts. No longer will there be product reviews. No longer introductions, news stories that you find elsewhere, or how-to content that you just don’t need. We will be coming up with things that you can discuss near water coolers. Okay?]

 

A little while back, Amazon, the online retailer-turned-technology company has come up with an idea of fulfilling the chores of people through crowdsourcing. That startup is called Mechanical Turk. It’s still operational. In this service, you can find all kinds of jobs that any average person can do. The payment you can get from the HIT you complete (HIT is a job, expanded as Human Intelligence Task) can be anything from a cent to 23 dollars.

Amazon mechanical Turk

 

What you see is a screenshot of the Mechanical Turk HITs list, for the day. The highest payment offered today is for an audio transcription service, and that is 23 dollars. And yet, in the home page of Amazon Mechanical Turk, there is this slogan floating about, “Make Money (by working on HITs)”.

The payment for each job is undeniably puny and ludicrous, even for a person from the third world. I have no idea who works on these jobs and “makes money”. As one might surmise, the middleman always profits without risk; Amazon does exactly that. What about the job poster and the worker that gets paid? Well, it’s an entirely different story there.

When a person like you or I try to find a work, we look at the options available in the market. Job market is so competitive, and there never is a shortage of competency. There are people who are willing to work for less, but essentially, their skills may not be all that productive. I know of several American small business startups that outsourced most of their work to the inept workers from other countries to save money and get there quickly. Their tactics have more often than not backfired.

In essence, a job is done well when the worker is knowledgeable and experienced. A knowledgeable and experienced worker has to be paid appropriately for his services.

You know well how more important quality is than quantity. Once, there was this US entrepreneur, who started up a small business about coaching higher executives. The entrepreneur then hired an inexperienced person to build links into his website. The payment was far less than usual, and the worker was as inept as anyone. He simply built links from Blogspot blogs and all of those links turned out to be of absolutely no value to the entrepreneur. In the end, his website simply remained there, without achieving any traffic. All he did was lose some money albeit very little money to a worker half the world away.

If you want good quality services, come out and pay well for them. Hire experienced people from good sources of work.

Shun Amazon Mechanical Turk.

If you are a skilled worker, shun Amazon Mechanical Turk, or at least the lowest paying tasks over there.

Sooquini & TaskRabbit

Sooqini logoSooqini

came into existence in London in 2012. This is a tasks marketplace where you can post your tasks and the payment involved. Also, people can offer various tasks and the price for each. Although it is available only in the UK currently, it may be rolled out to other parts of the world soon.

TaskRabbitTaskRabbit is a perfect American counterpart of Sooqini. The service is active in these parts of the
US: Atlanta, GA; Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, TX; Boston, MS; Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco Bay Area, CA; NYC; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, ME; Seattle, WA; and Washington DC.

Both of these services are for completing errands—dog walking, cooking, gardening, researching, fixing your AC, etc. Workers can commute online as well. As many other online job systems, these services offer certification for workers, and also allow you to set your own payment terms. Since it is better regulated than some others like mTurk, both the job poster and the worker can get better deals over here.

Things to Consider

 

When you take up a job with any online service, here are the important things to consider. When you try to hire people online to reduce business costs, here are some of the important things to consider.

  • Do not work for less than minimum wage if you are qualified enough to command what you want.
  • Small business owners, if you would like to survive, hire people with experience or the people who know what they are talking about. You can really get good deals with them too at affordable rates.
  • Workers with experience, show off your work and abilities by starting a blog or a website to showcase your talent. You can get more information about starting websites from CreatingSites.org.
  • If you are just in there to make some quick bucks, don’t spam the Internet.
  • Use the social media to your advantage. For business owners and professionals, it’s LinkedIn I am talking about. Twitter doesn’t hurt either.
  • Small business owners, depend only on professional services from professional companies at affordable rates, rather than hiring inept workers from third world thereby saving a ton of your money. Also, be prepared to pay what it takes to bring in talent.
  • Always look for testimonials from your clients. Take in feedback, and display the feedback on your website. If it’s a negative feedback, find what you did wrong and rectify it.
  • Middlemen, create opportunities that are good for both the workers and the job posters. Amazon, close down Mechanical Turk.

 

Conclusion

 

As said above, it is much better for you to find tasks if they pay well. As the minimum wage goes up, if you are a good worker and you know it, you should know that you can command the regular salary. Nobody should have to work for less than minimum wage just because of the competition. It only helps the skilled experienced and non-experienced workers if you command good salaries.

Also, the small business owners, the Internet will be so much better and spam-free if you stop hiring inept people.

A Comparison of Three RSS Readers Out There: Feedly, Digg Reader, AOL Reader

Remember we reported the shutdown of Google Reader a few days back? It used to be one of the Google services that reached a few million people instead of a few hundred millions as Google wants its products to. Hence, the search giant decided to shut down the reader application, putting millions out in the street. We were gladly rescued by a overwhelmingly simple feed reader application known as Feedly.

Feedly

 

Feedly cloud reader

 

Feedly came and conquered. It does have an interface with which you can import all your feed content directly from Google Reader itself. Since it was one of the early adopters of Google Reader refugees, it had a major boost in its traffic and user stats.

With is iOS and Android apps, Feedly beckoned the readers who were desperately looking for a platform to place their feeds. And it worked. The application had a boost in traffic so tremendous that it had to make internal changes.

Alexa traffic stats of Feedly

 

Now the Feedly cloud application goes through regular maintenance and feature updates very frequently. It has a beautiful interface too that is quite a bit inviting.

Feedly color themes

 

Interface and a few options

 

viewing options

 

A number of color themes; various viewing options like Titles, Magazine, Cards, etc.; other options like Twitter and Facebook newsfeed; a finance module with which you can get live stock quotes on selected shares; a way to save the stories to read later; and absolutely easy to use interface make Feedly my favorite feed reader today.

Digg Reader

 

After Digg lost its mojo, it has been struggling quite a bit to get back into the game. Now, it is trying desperately to get some more users with the help of its new Reader application. Digg Reader went live a few hours ago. This reader also lets you import your feeds from Google Reader.

Digg reader page

 

In comparison to Feedly’s reader, this is how Digg interface looks. It does not have many customization options or viewing options. While Feedly does include the favicons of the particular website being added, Digg Reader simply shows that old, drab RSS icon for most of the feeds. The view was also not quite appealing to my eyes. It may just be my opinion.

The reader allows you to connect to your Facebook and Twitter accounts as well. Digg also has a read later feature like Feedly and it works with Pocket, Readability, or Instapaper to bring this feature. While Digg Reader is not quite exciting right now, it is still under development and may come up with more options.

AOL Reader

 

AOL, just like Digg, has rolled out a reader application for its users. The reader is still in the Beta phase, and you can sign up to get into the Beta queue. Due to this reason, we are currently not able to test it out and find its advantages.

AOL reader beta list

 

It seems that most of the features that Feedly already provides are given on AOL reader as well, such as various layout views; tagging options; importing from Google Reader or its OPML file; and an application programming interface (API). Soon to be released are also the iOS and Android apps. When the reader comes alive, we will be able to find out if there is any advantage to it.


[Update]

AOL Reader invite has come up. Here is the first screenshot:

AOL Reader beta

 

You can directly add subscriptions or sign in with your Google account to manage the RSS feeds in Google Reader through AOL Reader. I did sign in with my Google account and imported the feeds.

AOL reader reading in cards view

 

The view options as you can see don't seem to be too bad. It has similar view options as Feedly, List View, Card View, Full View, or Pane View. Pane view is like your Outlook email reader with the list view on the left pane and full view on the right pane.

Themes and settings of the reader are not as extensive as in Feedly. Its color scheme is also pretty drab at best.


 

Conclusion

 

As per our assessment, it seems that Feedly is unquestionably the best RSS reader in the market today. It has all the features and the most elegant user interface that is quite a bit inviting. Also, with its capability to incorporate well with a browser like Chrome, with its Feedly Mini applet, it is quite a bit useful.

Gigabit Internet: How Close Are We to A Fiber-Connected World

Google Fiber high speed internet

It was . Google announced its plans to build an infrastructure that will provide ultra-high-speed broadband to a few lucky users in Kansas City, Kansas. This is Google Fiber, the ultra-fast Internet service from the search giant. With this development, one has to wonder if we are there yet?

In terms of the fastest speeds in broadband, the United States, despite being a giant in technology, is ranked nowhere. South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, etc., have broad band connections with an average speed around 50 Mbps.

As reported by the NY Times in a recent article, South Korea already had plans to build nearly 1 Gbps speed into every home in the country; already, about 1500 homes in 5 cities have been connected to 1 Gbps Internet. We don’t know how far the program has progressed since then.

In the recent analysis, South Korea already has the fastest Internet speeds in the world, with Hong Kong competing close behind. That country’s Internet is easily 200 times faster than an average US household’s Internet connection. Moreover, the country does provide wireless Internet in the form of LTE, HSPA+, and WiBro, which is something that South Koreans developed in-house. WiBro provides peak download speeds of 128 Mbps and upload rate of 56 Mbps.

How is Google Fiber affecting our Internet speeds? Google is the search giant, more or less a software company, rather than a telecom company like Verizon or AT&T. Those telecom companies we have are already entrenched. They are actively building infrastructure to provide us with LTE and LTE Advanced, which is the next generation in wireless communication technologies.

In this world, Google is coming up with an old concept in a new fashion—wired Internet through fiber optics. Two cities already have this Internet service—Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri. The next stop for Fiber is the capital of Texas, Austin.

Which Cities Will Get Google Fiber?

On , Google announced its plan to build a Fiber broadband network that will provide “100 times the speed” most Americans have ever experienced. It then went into sort of a voting process, in which Google wanted to figure out which city was the most enthusiastic about signing up. Over 1,100 cities have been there in the initial phase and out of those cities, Kansas City, Kansas was the most enthusiastic, so they got Fiber first.

The website that Google set up to gather votes from people and governments is obsolete now. Here are the details of the responses they received over the months the voting process was going on.

Votes accumulated by Google Fiber

As the months progressed, the votes accumulated, and the kind of enthusiasm that Kansas City residents showed interested Google. Also, Google is able to develop the Fiber infrastructure at lower cost in Kansas City, and that is beneficial for the company. Other cities soon followed, as you can see here:

KCK (Kansas City, Kansas): selected on .
Kansas City, Missouri: selected in .
Olathe, Kansas: selected on .
Austin, Texas: selected on .
Provo, Utah:  .
North Kansas City, Missouri:  .

Pre-registration to Google Fiber ended on . People who pre-registered for the service can select their plan and get Fiber installed in their home.

What Is In Fiber?

Why don’t you visit the Fiber website itself at fiber.google.com to know in detail about the plans and what is included in them? In short, there are three plans, Gigabit+TV for 120 dollars per month that gives TV and the high speed Internet; Internet only for 70 dollars per month; and Free Internet at only the 300 dollar one time set-up fee (the speed in this case is up to 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload). The network box used to provide Internet service is below. For TV, there is a separate Set Top box.

Google Fiber Network box

In any case, the Fiber plans are much better than the plans offered by your regular broadband providers. It takes us back to , when Google launched Gmail as an experimental service (yes, on the Fools’ day itself).

At that time, webmail was highly inconvenient, with Yahoo, Hotmail, and others offering between 2 and 8 MB of storage space. Yahoo even had a paid premium version offering up to 25 MB of storage. When Google announced a completely free, webmail with nearly a thousand times more storage as offered by others, everyone was forced to offer what its customers deserved—more storage and flexibility. Gmail, as expected, became a pioneer in webmail.

The same is expected from Fiber.

Fretting Giants in Broadband

AT&T logoDo you have any idea of the speeds offered by other major players in broadband in the United States?
AT&T has its fiber network being built across the country under the brand of U-Verse. Verizon has the fastest fiber network in the country under the FiOS brand. What is the speed offered by these services? AT&T U-Verse provides the maximum speed of 24 Mbps in download in its Max Turbo plan for 66 dollars per month. Verizon FiOS goes a little beyond that and provides about 29.4 Mbps download (average speed).

Verizon

Availability of Google Fiber has really rocked the world of these giants. As soon as the news of the availability of 1 Gbps Internet was available in Austin, AT&T also did the same thing. The company announced its plans to offer 1 Gbps Internet in Austin, Texas on April 9, 2013, right after Google’s announcement. It definitely looks like these broadband giants already have the equipment needed to provide high speed Internet service, but as long as a competitor doesn’t come along, they do not do that.

We are looking forward to seeing Verizon also offering high speed Internet.

The Future

With the fastest broadband technology widely available today, downloading a regular movie would take only a few minutes. A high-definition movie (1080p HD) on the other hand takes much more than that. But the future holds more than HD; we will be seeing 4K, UHD, and 8K content in the coming days, which go beyond a few GBs to a few TBs in size.

Even with the fastest Internet connection today, these movies will take days to download. Hence, it goes without saying how important it is for us to get even higher speeds. Google Fiber is a step toward that goal. If we get to see other companies also providing us with faster Internet connections, we may be able to use the Internet for everything.

The promise of fast Internet is entirely different. We will no longer have to download movies to watch them. Services like Netflix and YouTube will not lag on you. You will no longer have to sit waiting for anything.

In order to download a movie of size 4 GB, wait 34 seconds, while with 10 Mbps connection, the same movie needs about 57 minutes to download. In case of a 4K movie, the size may go up to 1000 GB (1 TB, mostly uncompressed), and 10 Mbps connection will require about 10 days to download it, while the Gigabit Internet will take only 2 hours to download that movie.

In Conclusion

We are looking forward to a future of extremely high data density. Downloading movies and other large files to create a personal storage is worthless. Instead, you should go for online services to watch movies directly. With the advent of high speed connections, voice over IP (VOIP) will soon replace your generic telephony system. Also, the storage required on your computer will be much less than that required today. Wait and watch out for more updates on Google Fiber, AT&T fiber network, and others.

How to Get the Reader RSS Data From Google

For a very, very long time, since when I started my technical exploits, I was relying on Google Reader for getting updates. From some of our major, vintage news sources—from BBC, CNN, the Atlantic, to Wired, CNET, and a million others. It is indeed a pretty sad thing that Google announced yesterday a spring of cleaning, and out of various things that will go away is Google Reader.

One thing that you urgently need to do before the Reader disappears on July 1 is to take the data out. Take it to a different feed reader and read it there. Alternatively, use your browser’s bookmarking tool to set your favorite publications as bookmarks.

The reason why I am writing this article is to let you know how you can download the Reader data from Google, for the people who have never heard about Google Takeout.

It’s pretty simple and straightforward.

Google takeout

 

First of all, from the Takeout website, select the service (in this case Google Reader) and then click on Create Archive to get the archive size and details. If the archive is ready immediately, you can download it or you can get it emailed to you, when ready.

Google reader data download

 

Now comes slightly more technical stuff. When you open the downloaded Archive file (using an application like WinZip, WinRAR, or 7Zip), you encounter a number of files with unknown extensions like JSON and XML. Let’s see how you can take this data to another RSS reader application.

If you are solely using Google Reader and don’t know about another RSS applications, then let me tell you about FeedDemon. FeedDemon is one of the most popular RSS readers out there, with a nice clean interface. Download it from here.

After setting up FeedDemon, it will ask you for a feed source. At this time, you can directly synchronize feed from your Google Reader, which is the easiest way to go. Alternatively, you can import the downloaded Google Takeout file and get the feeds aggregated in FeedDemon.

When you import files, FeedDemon is going to ask for something known as OPML files. At this time, simply select the option XML files from the file open window and then select the XML subscriptions file that you have saved.

FeedDemon importing files

 

That’s it. FeedDemon does the rest and updates the latest stories for you to read.

feedly

Another really cool feed reader I have tested out is Feedly. It is available for your Apple iPhone, iPad, Android phones, and browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox.

What is cool about Feedly is that you can log into the interface using your Google login, and it will immediately fetch all the feeds automatically from Google Reader. Feedly interface is pleasing enough to keep reading.

Feedburner icon

It is a hushed talk that RSS is dead. We have been expecting the inevitable for some time, in fact. Even after acquiring popular Feed platform, FeedBurner, Google didn’t take much time developing it.

FeedBurner is somewhat a dead service at this time. Since when Google stopped Adsense for feeds, we have been speculating about the dim future of FeedBurner. Google has now stopped Reader, and gradually those feed buttons will disappear from your favorite web pages. Our Internet is transforming in front of us.

Is Google Still the Best Search Engine In the World? A Comparison Study

Google has been the king of search since its birth in 1997. There have been other search engines worth mentioning, such as AltaVista, Ask, Dogpile, Excite, Yahoo, etc., but none of them stood a chance with Google it seems. Now, as you can see Google is also the world’s most visited website according to Alexa search rankings, moving Facebook (that held the first position briefly) to the second spot. With the ongoing controversies against Google search algorithms and its favoring Google Plus profiles in search results, one comes to ask the question, whether Google is still the world’s best search engine?

If it’s not, then what is? We are trying to find an answer to this in this post. If you don’ want to wait till the end, look at the bottom of the article, which will quench your thirst. In our test, we decided to include three other search engines. Bing, obviously; a new search engine called Blekko; and another new search engine called DuckDuckGo.

About These Guys!

Okay, so as a first step, let me tell you briefly about these contenders we have here. I suppose you don’t need any introduction to the main contenders, Google and Bing. If you don’t know about them, you can probably visit Google.com, Wikipedia, Microsoft, Encyclopedia Britannica, etc., although you may have to first move that rock, under which you are living.

Blekko is a relatively new search engine, launched in 2010. It is said to have about 3 billion pages in the index out of which it serves up search queries. It uses a new system known as slashtags, which are similar to hashtags in Twitter, but hash is replaced by a slash (/). Blekko serves a tiny fraction of the whole search market that goes beyond five billion queries per day, and ranks around 1000 on Alexa.

DuckDuckGo is a relatively newer contender, with a great interface. It is pretty simple to use. Amazing thing is when asked about Blekko, Google web spam team head Matt Cutts actually said DuckDuckGo is one of the Google competitors he liked. Here’s a video of the Google guy endorsing other search engines:

So, they are the contenders we set against Google and Microsoft Bing.

Setting Up the Search Engines for the Test

Before the test began, we had to set up these search engines, obviously. Did you imagine I was going to serve up the results taken from an unknown place on the planet? No. We went through painstaking procedure to set up the search engines. Here are the steps taken.

1. Google

When you are logged into any of the Google services, your past search history will influence your search results. Earlier, this was even worse, when you would be served up with a number of results from the same website, which you happened to visit for information quite often. As a result, it is not a good idea to log into your Google account if you want to simulate search results in another region.

We are most interested in search results as seen from the United States as this blog has the highest number of visits from the US. We are using Google Chrome, and we have already added Google USA search as one of the search engines within Chrome. It is in fact the default search engine.

Google search in Chrome

Also, in order to analyze better, we tweaked the interface to show the maximum number of results, which is 100. We also do not use Safe search option when logged in, and pretty much get all kind of weird results. But in the experiment, we logged out and set up the search engine and enabled Safe search so that all ‘weird’ ones get filtered out.

2. Bing

We need to be logged out of our Microsoft account in order for Bing test to work perfectly. We tweaked the Bing search preferences, and set up the United States as the default location. Also, increased the number of results to fifty which is the maximum allowed by Bing. We also removed our search history from Bing.

These are some of the settings on Bing Search.

Bing Search settings

 

3. Blekko

Within Blekko, accessing the preferences is pretty easy. On the top right, you have ‘Prefs’ that has a short tab full of settings you can tweak. We do not have a lot of options to configure in the search engine though.

Blekko search

 

4. DuckDuckGo

We selected the results region as the United States and tweaked a little bit of the stuff available, such as safe search and the color scheme. The search engine loads more results automatically as you scroll down.

DDG settings

After setting up the search engines, we also needed to remove sponsored listings from the search results. In order to do that, we installed a Chrome plugin called AdBlock. This is just for the test, and we DO NOT endorse this plugin, and we never will.

The Test Begins

After setting up the search engines, we obviously had to find some nifty keywords that we could put against these search engines. It was an extremely difficult task indeed. We have to search for all kinds of search terms, such a latest news event, an object of classic value, a highly searched business keyword, a geographical location, an important person, a legal requirement, a living organism, a company, a scientific experiment, and so on.

We have specific icons on these following images of test scenarios. Here’ what they mean.

A green check: indicates a very good and relevant search result.
A yellow sign: indicates a not-so-relevant result or a promotional content
A red cross mark: Irrelevant or self-promotional content that people may not like.

These images are huge files, so click on them to view in full size, and they may take a while to load. You will find the images in Google-Bing-Blekko-DuckDuckGo order.

So, here we go…

1. An Object of Classic Value

So, we decided to search for something very unique. In fact, we searched for a number of one-in-a-million objects and looked for the relevance in search results. One of the objects that we searched for was the famed Russian “Faberge egg”. The total number of results also matters. Here are the findings.

In Google: 573,000 results
Bing: 11,300
Blekko: 82,000

DuckDuckGo doesn’t give the number of results as a whole, so we will not be updating that anymore.

Google search for faberge eggBing search for faberge egg

 

Blekko search for faberge eggDDG search for faberge egg

Here are my findings. Google obviously gave the most relevant results of all, although Bing would not be far behind. What is surprising is what I got with DuckDuckGo, which gave a number of amazing results, including a Scribd document that exceptionally well talked about the history of Faberge eggs. Blekko came up with obviously irrelevant results we don’t want to talk about. Here are the rankings.

Google>DuckDuckGo>Bing>Blekko

2. An Official/Legal Requirement

The search term we are going to use is ‘pay tax onlin’.

Google: 843 million results
Bing: 83.5 million
Blekko: 22 million

Google search for taxesBing search for taxes

 

Blekko search for taxesDDG search for taxes

Google has aced as expected. Bing has also aced this time. We don’t know if we should continue testing Blekko as it gives us pretty unnecessary results this time as well, even with ‘money’ slashtag. DuckDuckGo has all the relevant results on the front page, but the order is not quite right. It doesn’t give IRS official site at the top of the page.

Google>Bing>DuckDuckGo>Blekko

3. A Latest News Event

In order to get a keyword to test in the latest developments, we went into Google Trends. An interesting news item besides the obvious Valentine ‘s Day movies is about a meteor that hit Russia. Obviously Google should have the news item already in its results. Let’s analyze. Keyword: ‘Russian meteor’.

To give a chance to the competition, we tested this time without double quotes on Google alone [to make it return a few irrelevant results as well].

Google: 6.75 million results (16,600 with double quotes)
Bing: 7940 results
Blekko: 130

Google search for 'Russian meteor'Bing search for 'Russian meteor'

 

Blekko search for 'Russian meteor'DuckDuckGo search for 'Russian meteor'

At this time, DDG has failed miserably as you can see. It probably doesn’t even understand breaking news stories. This is one area that they could improve on. About Blekko, I am happy that it has shown some improvement this time, but several of the x-marked ones on the image are duplicate stories from similar domains. Blekko probably doesn’t handle duplicate content well. Other than that, Blekko has pointed to a lot of news articles related to the Russian meteor.

Google, on the other hand, has given as the most relevant results even without the quotes.

Google>Bing>Blekko>DuckDuckGo

4. A Competitive Search Term

A competitive search term is a term that can bring in good business to the high-ranking website. So, a lot of businesses capitalize on them, making them highly competitive. In this analysis, we went into Google keyword tool, and looked for keyword ideas. We selected ‘compare car insurance’, a relatively high competition search term with 301,000 global monthly searches in Google.

Google: 89.3 million
Bing: 425,000
Blekko: 11 million

Google auto insurance searchBing auto insurance search

 

Blekko auto insurance searchDDG auto insurance search

As you can see there is only one result that is not for profit among the search results in Google. In other search engines, all of the results pointed to companies that in one or other way wanted to make money. These results are not fully irrelevant. They are all good results, but they are mostly from insurance companies or their partners who directly or indirectly want you to sign up. That is the reason why they are marked yellow.

Google>Bing=DDG=Blekko

5. A Famous Personality

We could search for anybody on the search engines, and we decided someone who has no affiliation to these tech companies. What about actor ‘Clive Owen’?

Google: 19.9 million
Bing: 117,000
Blekko: 808,000

Google search for Clive Owen

 

Bing search for Clive Owen

 

Blekko search for Clive OwenDDG search for Clive Owen

Overall, we were superbly impressed by Bing’s treatment of the search term. It gave us Clive Owen’s Facebook page, a few images and videos, and quite a bit of information, just as given on Google page as well. However, there was one page from Deadline.com that quite a bit marred the search experience. Overall, Bing did a little better job than Google I would say. Also, you can see we have discounted simple news story collections with tag ‘Clive Owen’.

Bing>Google>Blekko>DDG

6. A Company

In this, I searched for several companies, including the major tech giants, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, etc. And guess what, the information will surprise you.

On Google, you can get the company website as the top result, along with some internal site links. When I searched for ‘Google’, Google came up with its own Google Plus profile on the right side. That was kind of a self-promotion we didn’t like. Also, Google didn’t give any stock information for the company searched for. Also, you can get the latest news stories concerning the company.

On Bing, on the other hand, we got comprehensive company information, such as the stock quotes, social media profiles if any, and the Wikipedia page about the company. When I searched for ‘Facebook’ on Bing, I actually got a recommendation to connect to Bing via Facebook.

Blekko had been pretty average on this. One thing I wanted to see was whether I could get any information about the fruit if I searched for Apple. And the fact is it doesn’t matter what search term you use (‘apple’ or ‘Apple’), you cannot get the details about fruit on the first page on Google or Bing. However, on DDG, I was surprised to find some information about apple the fruit. That was a pleasant surprise.

Google search for Google

 

Bing search for Facebook

 

Blekko search for SamsungDuckDuckGo search for Apple

Bing wins this round.

Bing>Google>DDG>Blekko

7. How They Handle Synonyms

We did multiple searches in which we used unpopular words to determine if the search engines returned relevant results with their popular known alternatives. For instance, we searched ‘Good TBA movies’ instead of ‘upcoming good movies’. In this particular search query, Google immediately identified TBA as ‘To Be Announced’ and returned a page that contained information about upcoming movies. Also, Blekko and DDG both returned one relevant result each, but the rest of them were crap. Bing did not succeed this specific test as it did not return any link to any of the upcoming movies.

Other search terms we used to confuse search engines:

‘The best social network’: Bing and Google identified we meant ‘he most popular’social network. Blekko returned completely irrelevant results, and DDG returned results that had ‘the best’ rather than ‘the most popular’ in them.

Movie dialogue from: Bing and Google displayed results containing movie ‘quotes’, while other search engines failed to identify specific synonyms. Bing and Google went one step ahead and fetched a page with complete script of a movie that I searched.

Remotest isles from America : I liked how Google still gave one or two relevant results. Bing gave as the top result, a location map of a Bank of America ATM in Sunny Isles of Florida. Blekko and DDG did not give any relevant results. We say there were no relevant results, because none of the results sufficiently gave me the information I was searching for. However, others may find these pages somewhat relevant.

World’s worst man: Out of curiosity, I searched this, and none of the search engines gave me a definitive answer. Google had an article up with information about deceased North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il. Both Bing and Google had some other information about’Florida Man’ (I don’t know what that is). Other search engines also did not return pretty good results.

Most popular country in the world : I think you know I was actually looking for ‘populous countries’. I really enjoyed Google’s treatment of this search term and related terms like ‘popular cities’ They give you as the top result both popular countries and a list of countries by population. Bing also gives pretty good results, although overall Google gives better results on this. Blekko listed only ‘popular countries’ while DDG had identified also populous countries.

purchasing girlfriend on facebook: This points to a recent news item. Google and Bing returned highly relevant results that contained other terms like’buy’ and ‘get’. DDG mostly returned irrelevant results as there were not many pages that had the specific word ‘purchasing’. Blekko was irrelevant as always.

Conclusion

I was astounded by how much Bing has improved over the years. It used to return pretty awful results earlier, but now it mostly returns highly relevant search results. Three days ago, in Reddit ‘Ask Me Anything’ thread, Bill gates mentioned:

Seriously Bing is the better product at this point. Try the challenge. I am biased but the work to make Bing better has been amazing.

I would have to say that Bing has changed a lot and has become a very useful search engine, although they are waging war against Google in a bad way.

DuckDuckGo is an amazing new search engine as well, although not quite good at various aspects like news search or identifying synonyms. Blekko has been a total failure in most of the searches we did, and so we do not recommend it.

Overall, what we have identified is Google still reigns supreme as the king of search, and there is no other search engine in the planet even now that returns better, more relevant results than Google. I did not actually expect this to be an easy win for Google, but it has been. However, Bing definitely has a great chance to compete with Google, as its algorithm is pretty damn good as well.