I've been quietly complaining about my dependence on Google, and for the last year or so I've been trying to avoid using Google tools -- as often as possible. Turns out it's easier to complain about Google dependence than it is to give up Google.
- My Gmail account is my primary personal e-mail account, and I don't really want to go through the hassle of making that go away.
- We use Google docs at work -- a lot.
- I try to use Blip.TV instead of YouTube, but YouTube is just so darn simple and convenient, particularly uploading from the Flip Video interface.
I shut off Google Buzz, and I refuse to answer any G-chat requests. I ditched my Google calendars. I ditched my Blogger blogs years ago. I refuse to keep Chrome installed on my computer. I download it for performance tests and bug tracking, and then I uninstall it again. Google Wave and Google Health -- no thanks, not interested.
But I did finally give in and switch to Google Reader -- after a several-day Bloglines outage and a three-day experiment with other RSS feedreaders. The switch to Google Reader ticked me off enough that I decided to try to alleviate my biggest Google dependence of all -- Google Search.
I know. Scary, right? Right. Yet it also felt like a good time to give Bing an honest to goodness try -- so I did. I changed my default search engine to Bing. I installed the Bing app for my iPhone and played with voice search.
Can I just say that I love the voice search application? It's fun, and it's pretty reliable unless someone is talking right next to you while you're doing your voice search. I love it so much that I think I'll probably stick with Bing as my search engine of choice for my iPhone.
Mashable has Five Reasons to Switch to Bing, and I can really only agree on three of them. To be fair, I didn't spend any time on travel-related searches, and while I like the Expanded View in some cases, I don't think it's a feature that makes it worth switching for.
Visual Search -- I liked it, and I didn't expect to. I don't use a search engine for fun; it's serious business for me. I want my results fast, and I want them solid -- images tend to dilute the process. When I let myself just have fun with search, I turned to the visual galleries and clicked away. It WAS fun. I searched iPhone apps for a good long time. I might even have spent more than a half hour surfing the Most Wanted gallery. Maybe.
Bing Tweets is a nifty little interface that I did find useful. There were a couple of news stories last week that I needed to research a bit more -- I wanted to find out who was talking about those topics and if they were sharing any links that I hadn't seen. Bing had the topics as trending, I clicked and I found links I was looking for. It was quick. It was easy. I'll use this tool again.
Cashback is the Bing product that I'm most interested in, but the one I probably won't use myself. I do a lot of online shopping, but I never remember to shop through the sites that give me special returns or rewards on my purchases. I did set up my account, and I've got a note sitting next to my laptop to remind me to order some flowers or something through a Bing Cashback store to see how it works. I'll let you know in the comments (and if you're using Cashback, tell me what you think of it!)
After my three-day experiment with Bing, I decided I had more fun with Bing search but Google was more efficient.
I need my results sorted by date, and I need to be able to quickly search for blog posts on specific topics. I can do both with Bing, but it's not nearly as quick or efficient as Google. I found myself getting frustrated quickly, and when I got frustrated, I just bounced over to Google and grabbed what I needed.
I also found that the results I really wanted didn't appear quite as high in the results list with Bing as they did with Google. To make sure that I was right -- that I was really seeing the type of results that I thought I was -- I used the two searches side-by-side to do research for a piece I was editing. Yep -- Google was more efficient. I also played with the Google vs Bing side-by-side result tool. Again, Google was more efficient.
There are others who are considering breaking their addiction to Google. You can read about them here:
How many Google tools do you use? Have you given Bing a try?
~Denise BlogHer Community Manager
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