Overlap in the Web Search Results of Google and Bing

Rakesh Agrawal, Behzad Golshan, Evangelos Papalexakis


Google and Bing have emerged as the diarchy that arbitrates what documents are seen by Web searchers, particularly those desiring English language documents. We seek to study how distinctive are the top results presented to the users by the two search engines. A recent eye-tracking has shown that the web searchers decide whether to look at a document primarily based on the snippet and secondarily on the title of the document on the web search result page, and rarely based on the URL of the document. Given that the snippet and title generated by different search engines for the same document are often syntactically different, we first develop tools appropriate for conducting this study. Our empirical evaluation using these tools shows a surprising agreement in the results produced by the two engines for a wide variety of queries used in our study. Thus, this study raises the open question whether it is feasible to design a search engine that would produce results distinct from those produced by Google and Bing that the users will find helpful. 

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