Skip to main content

Product Review – Search Engine

Product Review – Search Engine

Search engine can be categorized into 3 types based on the way index is built:

Crawler Based Search Engine: search engine such as Google, Bing, Baidu etc, use a piece of software to “crawl” the web an then index what it finds to build the search base. Web changes can be automatically caught by crawler-based search engines and will affect how these web pages get listed in the search result. 

Crawler based search engines are good when you are looking for something very specific, say “Hong Kong Public Libraries”, but it is not good to search general topics, say “Search Engine”. A crawler based search engine can give thousands of irrelevant search result with many in which the key word appears only once.

Human-powered Directory: Yahoo!, Open directory are popular search engines that depend on human editors to create their listing. Changes made to individual webpages will not affect how the website is listed in the search result.

Human-powered directories are good if you are looking for a generic topic, it can usually help you to narrow down the list quickly. 

A least popular search engine is the “Meta-search engine”. It transmits user-supplied keywords simultaneously to several individual search engines to actually carry out the search. Search results returned from all the search engines can be integrated, duplicates can be eliminated and additional features such as clustering by subjects within the search results can be implemented by meta-search engines.

Another way to look at categorizing search engine is through the purpose of the search:

General Purpose: Google, Bing!, Yahoo, Baidu and most of the names we know and use in everyday life belong to the general search topic, users can search everything they are interested in;

Specific Purpose: users may go to certain search engine for a specific purpose, the most common case is job search,,, etc are popular poaces to search for opening option at a location and in certain roles; Google News, Yahoo News and others are popular places to look for news.

A third way to group search engine will be through the data type:

Maps: these search engines are specifically used to find locations, typical examples include Apple Map, Google Map, OpenStreetMap etc.

Multi-media: searches for images, videos are done via multi-media search such as Google Image, Veveo etc.

Price: these are search engines that help users find the price offered on the same product across the different merchants, popular ones include Google Shopping, Kelkoo, etc

Market Search of the Different Web Search Engine and Their Growth:

Google: Google represents the majority of the global search traffic; of all the 1.2 trillion requests  more than 50% comes from outside United States

Bing: Over 85% of the Bing users are in United States; according to research, most of them are blue-collar, over 35 years old female who have children.

Yahoo: news shows that most Yahoo users are from Asian countries, Hong Kong is one of the area Yahoo Search is widely used. Yahoo users demonstrate similar demographics as Bing users: blue-collar, over 35 years old female who have children.

Baidu: it is a primarily Chinese product with over 95% of the traffic made in China. 

Browser Market Share (2014-2016)

Homepage Comparison:

Background Color: Bing is the only one that did not use a white background and also the only one that did not put the search bar in the central of the page. The other 3 all adopted the white background. All follows the “Above the fold” principle, having no content under the first screen of the homepage. Bing’s page load slower due to the additional assets to be presented, and the fact that the image change for every refresh further slow done the speed.

Baidu is the only one that have QR code on the homepage to download Baidu mobile app, which confirm the fact that China is one of the most mobile active country.

Links to Other Products: links to other products on a search engine reflects the most popular family product the search engine operator has. While Google and Bing focus on search and productivity tools (Email, Document editor etc), Yahoo and Baidu focus on News and shopping.

  • Google: Gmail, Image
  • Bing: Image, Video, News, Explore, MSN, Office Online, ‪
  • Yahoo: News, Financial News, Entertainment News, Style, Movie, Sport, Mobile, Dictionary, Auction, Groupbuy
  • Baidu: Nuomi Shopping, News, hao123 Directory, Map, Video, BBS

Search “iPhone 7” (English)

Search “Spring Festival” (Chinese)

Common findings:

Bing comes out with the smallest number of search in both test. 20.1% of Google when searching “Iphone 7”, only 3.45% of Google when searching for "Spring Festival”. 

English sites are rated low for Baidu even if I type in iPhone 7 in English, confirming the primary user as Chinese. While other sides don’t manipulate the rank.

Images are positioned higher in Yahoo and Baidu, which predominantly search Chinese users, reflecting the fact that Chinese are more prone to visual than people from other countries.

Merchant advertisement on the top for all search engines, while Yahoo allows as many as 7 slots for Ad, Google only 1. It Money oriented is indeed the top 1 design principle for Hong Kong. Actually it is better to say this apply to all Chinese, Baidu went one step further to dedicate a section for totally not related products, with images showing desktops etc.

Baidu filled its first result page with as much as possible its self-contained contents (BBS Post; images etc) for the iphone7 search. While others do honestly search the web. 

Bing and Baidu provides suggestion to related search words.

Yahoo has a persistent Top 10 Hot Search Terms, further confirming its intension to lure users to deviate from their task and go to read irrelevant contents.

Unique Findings:

Baidu has done certain customization related to Chinese contents. For example, the calendar presentation and the Spring Culture links are unique for Baidu to serve Chinese users. Out of curiosity, I searched Abraham Lincoln on Bing but didn’t find similar behavior.

As a summary, to use Search Engine for general purpose and search English word, Google is definitely the best choice, Baidu is useful when searching contemporary Chinese content in Simplified Chinese and last, if you have nothing to do and just want to read some amusing gossip, Yahoo is definitely the place to go.


List of Search Engine

A Comparison of Search Engine for Finding Resources

Search Engine Marker Share 

Google vs Bing Which One Are Your Customers Using

Popular posts from this blog

4 Techniques to Make Your UX Review Meetings Successful

As a product manager, I often need to sit down with the executive management team to get their feedback on the new designs. It can be a frustrating process and many times I found that I cannot get things down in the time I am allowed to have.
Nevertheless, not having the sign-off from management is terrible for the team, we face high risk of having to re-work (yes, we always need to re-work, but it feels better if it is an improvement), schedule get delayed etc.
Over my 200+ review meetings, i've came to understand the reasons and learnt skills on how to stir the meeting towards an efficient completion, and I want to share them with you.
There are 4 key reasons of an unsuccessful product review meeting: 
1. Audience Lack the Background Knowledge: especially when introducing a new function, executives don’t know what they are looking at, or how the end users will be using such function, you may have sent the presentation before and again in the meeting invite, it doesn’t matter;

2. T…

What Changes will Machines Bring to us - As Employees

Machine learning to the employment has been a topic in debate. Darrell West, in his paper titled "What happens if robots take the jobs? The impact of emerging technologies on employment and public policy” suggested a list of actions government should take to ensure people whose job has been replaced by machines can live a decent live. The general sentiment seems to suggest a turbulent era as work force transform.

Growing up in China during the time of State owned enterprise reform, I had real experience living through the time of large group of people being laid off because the jobs were suddenly gone. My parent’s generation had to learn new skills for a completely new industry at their 40s and 50s. Few of them made it and even became millionaire, many of them didn’t and the family suffered a lot. I followed the news of Detroit Car manufacturing industry lapse and it shows familiar traits. The fact is, jobs come and go all the time, employee as a group will constantly adapt while …

21 Tops on How to Write a Successful Blog

Hubspot and General Assembly came together to offer a 10 week planner for successful blog. The type of blog discussed in this plan are corporate blogs used to bring people to the site and explore what the company is doing, potentially generate a lead.

Identify Your Target Persona: talk to sales team and research contract dataStart Building Evergreen Content: start with evergreen contents that stay relevant though time; do keyword search to see what people are searchingChoose the Right Content Management Tool: a good tool is easy to use and allow users to track metrics such as conversion rate, page view, and where traffic come fromDesign Your Blog: consistent layout; Focus on Your Content Strategy: basically it is depending on what you wantSet Subscriber Path: there needs to be a workflow for emailing the subscriber, a subscription form and an unsubscribe form. Hubspot is towards the "don’t email your subscribers too often” group while I also heard UI Breakfast Jane Portman talked …