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Microsoft Bing's Derrick Connell talks to Danny Sullivan at the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle this morning.

Microsoft’s internal testing shows that Bing’s search results are quantifiably as relevant or, in some cases, more relevant than those from Google’s search engine.

But Microsoft says its own consumer testing shows that Google’s powerful brand still makes consumers think that the search giant’s results are better, even in cases where they aren’t.

Speaking at the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle this morning, Microsoft vice president Derrick Connell described a series of user experiments conducted by the company. The experiments showed Bing and Google search results with the correct branding, the search results with no branding, and results with the brands flip-flopped.

He said the Bing results incorrectly labeled as Google results looked significantly better in the eyes of consumers who thought they were looking at Google’s results.

“There is a perception gap,” Connell said. “There’s a consumer perception that Google’s results are better than they are, or maybe our results are not as good as they are.”

The company plans to amp up its marketing in the coming months in attempt to bridge that gap, Connell said. Conference organizer Danny Sullivan joked that Microsoft would need to go into everyone’s homes and change the defaults to make a noticeable impact on that perception.

Connell said he hopes that an independent group will conduct similar testing to verify what Microsoft has found, doing something along the lines of a Pepsi vs. Coke challenge.

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