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July 22, 2007

Search Engines and Favoritism

While most search engines say they return unbiased results, it's interesting to compare how well the services of a company perform in the search engine of the same company and other competing search engines. I chose the top three search engines: Google, Yahoo, Microsoft's Windows Live Search and 10 general queries directly related to products or services developed by all the three companies.

It's interesting to notice that Google ranked its own sites as #1 in 7 cases out of 10 and Yahoo in 6 cases out of 10. Microsoft's services have poor rankings in most search engines, including Windows Live Search. A single Google service was the top result in Yahoo Search (Google News) and only one Yahoo service was #1 in Google Search (Yahoo Mail). You'll also find surprising that for "desktop search", each company placed its own desktop search software as the top result. But then again, this is just an empirical test and everything might just be a coincidence.

The tables show the ranking for each product (for example, the second row from the next table shows how well performed Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Hotmail in Google Search for the query "mail"). You can use a site like yahoogooglemsn.com to compare the results in the same window.

Mail
Google
Yahoo
Microsoft
Google Search 2
1
11
Yahoo Search 8
1
2
Windows Live Search 2
1
11


Calendar
Google
Yahoo
Microsoft
Google Search 3
4
-*
Yahoo Search 15
2
-
Windows Live Search 3
6
-


Groups
Google
Yahoo
Microsoft
Google Search 1
2
7
Yahoo Search 3
1
2
Windows Live Search 1
3
4


Toolbar
Google
Yahoo
Microsoft
Google Search 1
3
5
Yahoo Search 2
1
6
Windows Live Search 26
1
3


Maps
Google
Yahoo
Microsoft
Google Search 1
4
10
Yahoo Search 3
1
13
Windows Live Search 3
4
17


Desktop search
Google
Yahoo
Microsoft
Google Search 1
5
3
Yahoo Search 3
1
4
Windows Live Search 4
3
1


Image search
Google
Yahoo
Microsoft
Google Search 1
3
10
Yahoo Search 2
6
9
Windows Live Search 1
3
28


Video search
Google
Yahoo
Microsoft
Google Search
1
2
19
Yahoo Search 5
2
-
Windows Live Search 3
1
-


News search
Google
Yahoo
Microsoft
Google Search 1
3
-
Yahoo Search 1
2
-
Windows Live Search 1
3
-


Search
Google
Yahoo
Microsoft
Google Search 8
5
1
Yahoo Search 2
1
16
Windows Live Search 3
2
8

* no web page in the top 30 results

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