• Daniel Kephart

I Used Bing Exclusively for 30 Days

No, this article is not sponsored by Microsoft. Sadly.

That's right, I used nothing but Microsoft's proprietary search engine, Bing, for a whole month. And, at the end of my run, I don't intend to switch back to Google. You heard me haters.

There are a few practical reasons I switched to Bing (including the advice of our own resident tech expect, Matt Kaufman). First, Microsoft's "Bing Rewards" program gives you points redeemable towards gift cards to some of America's most popular stores. Not bad, considering it doesn't involve any extra effort on my part. Secondly, using a different search engine than Google ended up being particularly valuable when doing research. Turns out getting different results than everyone else is a nice way to get a leg up in graduate school. Who knew?

But there was an ethical dimension to this (somewhat ridiculous) journey. There are serious consequences to living in a world tailored to our expectations.

Google has made its fortune on adapting searches to show you and I exactly what we're looking to find. If you're an Olympic swimmer, the search "suit" probably shows you a pair of swim trunks. If, like me, you have a casual fascination with menswear, then the same search probably shows you something more appropriate to a Sunday afternoon in Georgia. And the better Google gets to know you, the more effective they are at selling you products you like.

Now, I'm no proponent of consumerism, but I certainly would prefer to see ads for products I like. On the other hand, though, this becomes a bit more problematic when we think about the accessibility of knowledge. Increasingly, we're finding information online that only serves to confirm our existing biases. We're creating echo chambers.

We all know this, of course, it's a bit of a truism. But switching up your search engines is a simple way to get a little more variety in your life.

I used Bing for 30 Days, and I'm still using it now.

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