A few days ago, you may have read our post regarding the new product from Google, Glass. It has come and we got to see it in action. The real question here is, whether anyone should really be excited about this augmented reality goggles from Google. Letâ€™s find out.Google Glass has been the focus of attention in the technology world for the last couple of months. One of the first things that anyone would ask about Glass is whether it is stylish enough to be worn outside or would it make you look dorky? This is difficult to find out as the product has not reached our hands yet. Only a few people have had the opportunity to wear Glass and get out. EIC of Engadget, Tim Stevens was one of the first to experience Google Glass, and he has written in detail about it. His review points out a heads-up display seems like a natural fit.
In comparison to your smartphones, Google Glass does seem easier to use. It does look stylish upon your regular eyeglasses. You may have noticed the spoof picture of the duke of Cambridge, Prince William and his better half Kate Middleton wearing Google Glass, in our earlier review.
The first of the explorers of Google Glass project included a few celebrities, including How I Met Your Mother star, Neil Patrick Harris. If you remember, Neil did post a tweet mentioning he would show the world the sets of HIMYM if he had Glass. He has been given an opportunity. Check this out:
Other celebrities that got the opportunity include actor and singer Brandy Norwood, actor Kevin Smith, rapper Soulja Boy, singer Imogen Heap, Oâ€™Reilly founder Tim Oâ€™Reilly, etc. Get an extensive list here (people selected via Twitter).
One point that I wish to discuss with you is why Google Glass gets so much media attention. A factor behind this is the enormous popularity of the search giant. Anything that comes from Google is gold for the media. That explains the extreme media coverage of Google Glass. On the other hand, have there not been any other augmented reality eyeglasses in the past? There have, of course. One of them is EyeTap, which was also talked about in our article on Glass. But those other inventions are more cumbersome-looking than Glass, and hence they have not been quite popular.
In fact, these wearable computing products have been around since the 80â€™s.
Just as any other product, Google Glass also has its own advantages and disadvantages. The success of a product depends on whether it has more advantages than disadvantages, of course. Letâ€™s analyze this.
1. Google Glass and the Usability Factor
Whether or not Glass is an easy-to-use device is subjective at best. Many reviews that I went through talked about how easy to use this particular product is. Many others talked about the difficulty of using it. You just wear it and simply give orders to it to take pictures, search the Internet, etc. If you are familiar with Googleâ€™s and Appleâ€™s voice command systems, you should be able to use Glass comfortably.
With that said, the voice recognition system is still far from perfect. If you are in a crowd and you are trying to use the voice command system, it more or less doesnâ€™t recognize what you speak. Also, the system has big trouble with non-native speakers. Since voice is the prime way of entering input, you will either get the hang of it or will get bored with its ineptitude.
2. The Battery
Google Glass is notorious in the battery department. Many people have found out it has a terrible battery. No smartphone has a battery that runs for only three or four hours as in the case of Google Glass. If you think deep, this is a huge disadvantage of Glass.
3. The Screen
The tiny screen of Glass is integrated to a thick glass block that goes on top of the device. The problem is the display is more or less transparent and difficult to see in bright daylight. Yet, the device is meant to be used outside where there is bright daylight almost always: another disappointing aspect of Glass.
4. The Specifications
Google Glass specs are out. The details of the display are not available although it has been verified to be equivalent to a 25 inch HD screen about 8 feet away.
Camera: 5 MP 720p; Storage: 16 GB with 12 GB available; RAM: 1 GB (developers get 682 MB); Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g and BlueTooth; OS: requires Android ICS 4.0.3 for MyGlass app. In essence, its specs do not compare to a product of the current era. Wi-Fi could have been b/g/n in order to have better speed.
4. The Price
Although it was mentioned in the initial stages of development of Glass that the product would be priced like a regular smartphone, it is not. For such a low-spec device that has to be paired with a smartphone to even work outside, Glass is priced too high. 1500 dollars for Glass is asking too much.
Google uses Foxconnâ€™s facilities in Santa Clara, California to manufacture Glass. Just as Apple is investing over 100 million in manufacturing products in the US, Google is also moving that way. The higher manufacturing cost in the United States is another reason why Google Glass is priced so high.
Google Glassâ€™s production in California will only be a few thousand units, and that will be rolled out to the first few people to use Glass including the Glass Explorers.
In the future, when Glass will be made available to the general population, we expect the price to come down drastically.
Banning the Glassholes
As soon as Glass became a household topic of conversation, the term Glasshole started to appear to describe the people wearing Glass and encroaching on othersâ€™s privacy. The Urban Dictionary also provides the definition as a person who constantly talks to his Google Glass.
Glass has been banned in a number of places, including casinos, strip clubs, movie theaters, 5 Point Cafe in Seattle Washington, while driving in West Virginia, etc. There are a number of reasons behind banning Google Glass in these scenarios. For instance, security is absolutely necessary in casinos and movie theaters due to such issues as game rigging and bootlegging. Strip clubs probably donâ€™t want you to create videos of performances! These wearable computers may also be banned on certain government buildings including courts.
In essence, Google Glass is yet another wearable product that works with your smartphone. It doesnâ€™t have any major technical specifications to command a high price. Also, there is a good chance that people will forget about Glass after the initial buzz dies down. Google has done a great marketing technique to promote this product, but it all comes down to the usability factor.
It is very much possible that you will get bored with Glass after a few daysâ€™ use. If the use of a product is difficult, it is bound to fail. In our opinion, the only way any voice-activated product can become popular is by making the voice recognition system perfect. Since that is not the case, we expect Google Glass not to make any big impact in our lives.
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, theÂ ultra-fastÂ 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 donâ€™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 countryâ€™s Internet is easily 200 times faster than an average US householdâ€™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 fashionâ€”wired Internet through fiber optics. Two cities already have this Internet serviceâ€”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 â€œ100 times the speedâ€ 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.
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: Â . North Kansas City, Missouri: Â .
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 donâ€™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.
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 Foolsâ€™ 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 deservedâ€”more storage and flexibility. Gmail, as expected, became a pioneer in webmail.
The same is expected from Fiber.
Fretting Giants in Broadband
Do 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).
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 announcedÂ its plans to offer 1 Gbps Internet in Austin, Texas on April 9, 2013, right after Googleâ€™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 doesnâ€™t come along, they do not do that.
We are looking forward to seeing Verizon also offering high speed Internet.
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.
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.
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 sourcesâ€”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 browserâ€™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.
Itâ€™s pretty simple and straightforward.
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.
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. Letâ€™s see how you can take this data to another RSS reader application.
If you are solely using Google Reader and donâ€™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.
Thatâ€™s it. FeedDemon does the rest and updates the latest stories for you to read.
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.
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 didnâ€™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.
On Twitter, the #IfIHadGlass hashtag is going strong with about a tweet every two seconds. If you donâ€™t know about it, it is the hashtag used to inform Google about your desire to get your hands on Google Glass, wearable computing solution from Google. In this article, letâ€™s take a deep look at Google Glass and know how the experience will be. To start with, here, take a look at some of the tweetsâ€¦
It all started with an abacus ring pioneered by the Chinese Quing dynasty in the 1600â€™s.
In the 80â€™s and 90â€™s we got to see quite a number of wearable innovations. A few of them are here.
In the early 80â€™s, Dr. Steve Mann, one of the pioneers of wearable computing, invented this largely unappealing apparatus. Rig could be worn, but as you can imagine it is quite easy to go around without it. But again, it was in the 80â€™s. In the 90â€™s Steve Mann came up with other inventions, which were a bit better to look at. One of them is the EyeTap shown here.
Here is another invention called Zypad that wraps around your wrist like a watch, a big, big watch!
In 2010, a company called Brother released another invention, quite similar to Google Glass called AiRScouter. Here it is:
Besides these, you are probably quite familiar with the likes of Nike+ FuelBand and Jawbone Up (which I think looks a lot cooler).
If you need to know more of the history of wearables, you can visit Interaction Design Foundationâ€™s wearable computing page.
The latest addition to the wearable computing world is Googleâ€™s own product, Glass. If you have never heard about some of those devices mentioned in the history section above (save for the FuelBand and Up), then you are probably wondering why these devices are so rare! They are rare and more or less unpopular. Although some of these wearable inventions can be quite easy to handle, they have never become popular enough.
Google on the other hand is expecting to get people interested in Glass.
Google Glass first made its appearance back in April 2012, when Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google and chief of Google X (where Glass and other major innovative, secret Google projects are developed), displayed it. On , Sergey was spotted in New York subway train wearing his invention. The guy who spotted him blogged about itÂ (it does rhyme with ‘bragged about it’ doesn’t it?).
Glass is Googleâ€™s own augmented reality wearable computing invention that will go on sales by the end of the year (as per latest expectations) or in two. However, if you are a US citizen, you may be able to get your hands on one test device if you fulfill a few Google requirements. That is where we come across the above-mentioned hashtag, #IfIHadGlass and about 1500 dollars.
What It Does?
â€˜OK Glassâ€™ is a command that you will use quite often if you own one. It starts the computerâ€™s natural language voice recognition system, deeply integrated to Google search. The voice recognition is exactly like how you use it on Android devices. Just add â€˜ok glassâ€™ in front.
For instance, in order to take a picture, you say â€˜OK glass, take a pictureâ€™; to record a video, you say â€˜OK Glass, record a videoâ€™. Pretty simple indeed!
In effect, Google Glass is just another way technology is shaping our lives. Or trying to shape!
Google Glass project runs Android (we donâ€™t know which version) and does everything with the tight integration to Google. There is no way to input data to the system other than using voice. Also, the capabilities are limited to a few. It doesnâ€™t have as much capability and usability as a smartphone.
We donâ€™t know the details of the features yet, but we expect to know about them soon.
Google Glass sports a lens-less eye-mounted frame that has a tiny display attached with a camera.
In the design front, Google Glass looks pretty awesome with lenses, rather than without them. You could look geeky wearing it, or if you can pull it off, you could look like the main character of a Sci-Fi film.
The product is light and flexible, and yet it is sturdy. The basic Glass without any lenses looks awkward a bit (I mean, why would you wear a pair of eyeglasses without glasses?) It also has quite a number of color choices, just like Google’s logo, offices, storage facilities, etc.
There have been quite a bit of talk about how good and chic it is to wear Google Glass. There is already a very fine line between stylish wearables and ridiculous ones. Appleâ€™s soon expected iWatchÂ also is getting mixed response among people. It is definitely not so stylish to wear a wrist-bound computer like the Zypad we saw earlier. There is a huge population that disapproves of wearable technology due to the fact that it could look awkward in public. However, the perception could change if the technology becomes popular.
As far as Google Glass is concerned, I believe it cuts right in the middle ground between what is cool and what is lame. It has the potential to go both ways. When Sergey was wearing it in train, it looked pretty good. When an average Joe wears it in public where no one else does, it could look awkward. But among the pictures we were able to find, the Glass looks pretty stylish on most faces.
Along with this image, where Google Glass is doctored on the faces of the duke and duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, we got to see a number of other spoof images (those of Barack Obama, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, etc.) of Google Glass. The general idea here is that Glass can look beautiful on your face.
Last year, Steve Mann, the man behind augmented reality wearables was attacked in a McDonaldâ€™s in Paris, while wearing his own invention, the EyeTap (see the above picture with Steve Mann wearing EyeTap). He was assaulted by people purporting to be McDonaldâ€™s own employees. The story also mentions a lady who was attacked by the same outfit for photographing their menu.
Whether people find it weird or funny to have an eye-mounted computer is yet unknown. However, anything could be stylish if it becomes popular.
We will have to wait and see how Google Glass performs in the market.
We will see quite a number of Glass wearers in a few days. Google will provide Glass to a number of people who apply to become â€œGlass Explorersâ€. We have been seeing celebrities taking interest in this test by Google. Here is a tweet by Neil Patrick Harris:
Google Glass is going strong with over 100,000 searches in the United States about it.
Here, take a quiz:
Other than the fact that it is a strong wearable product, I donâ€™t understand the hefty price tag of 1500 dollars. It is more than a few full-fledged laptops and all of the high-end smartphones and tablets. However, this is the Explorer edition shipping right now for the winners of the application process in Google.
Google itself has given us assurance that the actual price of the device should be much lower than that.
Google Glass is definitely an innovative product from the search giant. We are still worried about the future of the device. As we mentioned, it has the potential to be both the next big thing and the laughable tech! With Googleâ€™s backing, it has all the potential to succeed. There is also big competition to Google Glass, and one of them is under development in Cupertino itself. Apple has a patent for a head-mounted display computer as well, dated July 2012.
Google did announce yesterday that the results of the Glass program #ifihadglass are in. That post was made in the Google plus page of the project. Soon enough, we will also know the winners of the project. All of the winners are expected to be individuals.
Here are a few of the first videos shot with Google Glass. From the people passionate about it, and subsequently got it to test.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
DuckDuckGo doesn’t give the number of results as a whole, so we will not be updating that anymore.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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
Blekko: 11 million
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.
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
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’.
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.
Bing wins this round.
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 Americaâ : 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 manâ€: 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 facebookâ€: 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.
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.