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Google versus Bing: Is underdog Bing the better man?

NetworkingOnline Media IndustryArts and CultureMarketingAndy Williams

Bing may be the underdog of search engines, but its mighty nemesis Google is the underdog of social media sites.

And you know what Mark Zuckerberg's default browser is, right?  Bing.

Derrick Connell, corporate vice president of Bing, will vouch for that default browser info. Connell made his keynote address Wednesday morning at SMX Advanced, the conference in Seattle put on by the website Search Engine Land, which focuses on search marketing trends and other tech topics.

Connell was talking up changes Bing made last month -- changes that have given Facebook a starring role in users' search results pages.  He also announced updates today to the search engine's Web master tools that should warm the cockles of many search engine optimization gurus' hearts.

But as for regular users, Bing is hoping they love its Sidebar, to the right on the search results page, which taps into a Facebook user's social network, as The Times reported last month when it launched. You can even access your friends' Facebook photo albums there.  It's where the social media element -- the "people," as Connell put it -- belongs, off to the side and not incorporated into regular search results. 

Google's built-in approach to Google+ pops up in Google News, which now incorporates what those in your circles have to say on a given topic.

With Google's pursuit of social media and its featuring of paid advertising on search results pages, Bing is presenting itself as the "cleaner" and "traditional" search engine, as Connell said Wednesday.

It's clear that Bing would like to siphon off any Google users who are less than thrilled with recent changes it has made to search.

The "knowledge graph" has gotten a lot of media attention, much of it flattering.  Google is trying to anticipate your knowledge needs.  It's not infallible, of course, as a search for crooner Andy Williams shows. Among his "music groups" is hard-core punk group Every Time I Die.

The media has pointed out the graph could be seen as an exercise in Google self-promotion, with the results sending you to Google+ or another Google search. 

When Connell made his presentation Wednesday, he called Bing more "traditional." This reporter heard hints of "more ethical."  He reiterated Bing's spurning of paid inclusion and stressed that the search engine was not interested in building a social media site.

But, hey, why would they be?

Bing has Facebook as its particular friend.  That's enough to make any underdog feel special.

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