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July 6, 2013

What's The Right Answer?

Sometimes the same question can have multiple answers, even when you're looking for a simple fact. I've searched for [ny population] using Google and Bing and got two completely different answers. Google's answer is 8.245 million, while Bing's answer is 19,501,616.

It's obvious that Google replaced "ny" with "New York City", while Bing replaced it with "New York State". If you're searching for [new york], Google will show information about the city, while Bing's data refers to the state.

To disambiguate your query, you need to search for [ny city population] or [ny state population] and both search engines will return similar answers.

What if you search for [ronaldo age]? Here's what you get: 28 years (Google) and 36 years (Bing). Google mentions that the answer is for Cristiano Ronaldo, but Bing doesn't.

Both answers are OK because there are two football players known as Ronaldo: Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima (born 18 September 1976, retired Brazilian player) and Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro (born 5 February 1985, Portuguese football player - Real Madrid). Most of the top search results from both Bing and Google are about Cristiano Ronaldo.

To make things more confusing, Bing also provides information about Cristiano Ronaldo:

More examples:

To sum up, it's a good idea to disambiguate your query and to check the answers provided by search engines.

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