Several years ago, I switched from Google search to Bing. There, I said it. I no longer search for anything on Google; I Bing it. And I haven’t looked back since.
Leaving Google wasn’t easy. In the late 1990s, I was invited to test Google’s search engine. I went from rummaging through filing cabinets to typing queries into a search box. If it was available on the web, Google promised it would find it. Over the years, Google has become smarter and more responsive. Google Instant auto-suggested search results before I finished typing them. Google, it has become part of my vernacular.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Bing search engine was getting no respect. Bing that? Please.
But Bing stubbornly continued to improve. It added social logins and maps identifying key topics and related searches. It has improved speed and reliability. Then one day, when I wanted to dig up some older stories I had written using Google’s search engine, I discovered that I had better luck finding them using Bing.
So I changed. Bing is close to, if not as good, as Bing.
Switching from Google search to Bing search is easily done in seconds. I provide instructions at the bottom of this story. But before that, here are some of my favorite (and yes, even weird) reasons to switch to Bing.
Number one? Because Microsoft will pay you.
1. Find and earn money with Microsoft Rewards
I am cheap. I’ll usually pass up a $12 craft beef slider at the food trucks near my desk in favor of a cheaper salad that could fill a cushion. I often wear the same pants two days in a row to save on my water bill. I use coupons.
So what if Microsoft wants to pay me around $5 a month to do what I normally do? Sign me up.
Some of the things you can redeem your Microsoft Rewards Research Points on.
The concept behind Microsoft Awards (formerly Bing Rewards) is simple: as you search, Microsoft awards you points that you can spend on anything Starbucks to Microsoft Game Pass.
If you have a Microsoft account (you have a free Microsoft account, right?), you can earn five points per Bing search on a desktop computer, up to 150 points per day. Similarly, you can earn up to 100 points per day on mobile, with five points credited to you per search. (Don’t worry if these numbers don’t quite match what you’re seeing, as Microsoft tends to vary the values from time to time.) Bing searches are automatically triggered via Cortana on a Windows Phone or the app Bing Search for Android. or iOS.
If that’s not enough, you’ll automatically earn points using the Windows 10 Edge browser, up to 900 points per month. And if this isn’t enough, you’ll get one point for every dollar you spend at Microsoft Windows and Xbox online stores, or at a physical Microsoft Store.
The best part? Points can be redeemed for things you actually get use.
If you want even more points, take five minutes out of your day to check out the rewards and quizzes Microsoft Rewards offers.
For around 475 credits – again, the value varies – Microsoft will give you $5 to spend at Amazon, or Target, Burger King, Starbucks or other merchants. You can also redeem your rewards for a nice 5% coupon on the Microsoft Store, discounts on Windows apps, or even a free month of Xbox Live Gold. Use Bing frequently enough and you can work your way up to Silver or Gold status, which gives a discount on redeeming points.
And all for just using Bing throughout your day. And if you even want Following points, you can visit Bing.com or click the Microsoft Rewards medallion icon for quick quizzes and search suggestions. It all adds up quickly.
2. Search Results: As Good or Better Than Google
I wouldn’t even mention Bing Rewards if Bing itself wasn’t worth it. But he is. My personal belief is that Bing provides slightly more useful information than Google in general search. (To be fair, I’ll point out general: Sometimes I try a Google search if I can’t find what I’m looking for in Bing. As of August 2017, I’d say Bing’s ability to find my old news is slightly worse than before, although it’s still very good.)
And don’t worry: Using Bing doesn’t prevent you from using other Google services, such as Gmail, as often as you want.
Context is key, and Microsoft has made it a priority with Bing.
If I search for a term like Notre Dame football, Bing makes better use of that vast white space on the right side, displaying contextual information about the school, its history, news, and more. (Both engines show me recent scores, but Google’s map shows a more comprehensive upcoming schedule.)
Bing’s lead widens when you search for celebrities, as it includes videos as well as images and biographical information. And while Microsoft might do a better job of highlighting this information, Bing provides one-click links to a celebrity’s social media pages for what they think, at present.
Bing also includes links to social networks.
There are exceptions, of course. But, in general, Bing performs as well as Google on most of my common everyday searches.
3. Bing has image chops
This also applies to image searches. Bing was the first to implement infinite scrolling in Bing Images, where users could simply scroll and scroll and never reach the end of their search results. Today, Bing’s image search adds an extra layer of search filters for Google users to explore to find, including options to show only images with faces, for example, or show images in a particular layout. And if you need to find a licensed photo to illustrate a newsletter, Bing makes that information more easily accessible than Google.
Bing’s image search page is attractively formatted, with plenty of starting points for further exploration.
The only reason to use Google’s image search is if you’re looking for animated GIF images, because that’s an option that Bing hasn’t offered yet.
Keep reading to see how Bing gives you more video search results than Google.
4. Bing shows more video, if you can bear to watch
For some reason, the conventional wisdom is that Bing is the porn search engine of choice. Wander through some of the Microsoft forums on Reddit, and eventually this will pop up. Heck, The Daily Dot even dedicated an entire article on it.
Part of the reason is that, even with filtering disabled, Google now takes a rather puritanical attitude towards filter copyrighted videos, while Microsoft took a more libertarian approach. Bing simply shows you videos about your web search topic, whether it’s baseball or boobs.
That’s not to say that Bing is a dark corner of the web full of junk and depravity. Thumbnail images of anything Bing thinks are for adults are actually blurry by default. But if you search for something labeled Not Safe for Work, know that Microsoft will show it to you (assuming your search filter options allow it, of course).
Microsoft’s Bing treats you like an adult, if that’s what you’re looking for. (Note that you can filter X-ranked searches on Bing and Google.)
Curiously, neither Google nor Microsoft shrink from violence. Both showed what I assume are full videos of various Middle Eastern hostage beheadings, none of which I enjoyed watching.
make the change
If you’re a long-time Googler and the benefits of Bing intrigue you, great. Here’s how to change.
As you probably know, Microsoft and Google each offer their own browsers to go along with their own search engines. With Internet Explorer or Edge from Microsoft and Chrome from Google, browsers are preconfigured to use their respective search engines by default, accessible via the search bar at the top of the screen. (Of course, you can visit Bing.com or Google.com and search there at any time.)
Switching from Chrome’s search engine to Bing is relatively simple: in the upper right corner of the browser, you’ll see a small menu icon that looks like three overlapping horizontal lines. Click on it. Near the bottom of the drop-down menu, you’ll see Settings. About halfway to the Settings page, you will see a box to select your Search engine.
To switch search engines in Chrome, click the vertical ellipsis icon (the three vertical dots) in the top right, then scroll down to Settings. So scroll down to this section, here.
Microsoft also hides its search engine configurations. If Internet Explorer is configured to use Google, go to the URL bar and click the magnifying glass (search) icon. At the bottom right of the drop-down menu, click To add. Click on the small Bing icon at the bottom left to set Microsoft’s search engine as the default again.
Edge must be preconfigured on Bing. (It’ll be locked to Bing if you’re using Windows 10 S on Surface Laptop or an education machine.)
Pretty much the only change Bing is forcing you right now is to send you to Bing Maps, not Google Maps. And if you’re looking for videos, guess what: Google’s YouTube isn’t exactly Bing’s top pick.
Bing offers search capabilities as good as Google, plus lots of little extra conveniences and rewards to entice you to switch. It only takes few seconds. Are they enough to get you to try Bing yourself? It’s worth taking a few minutes out of your day to check.
Updated February 14, 2022. with updated information.