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Back in 2009, GeekWire co-founders Todd Bishop and John Cook took to the streets of Seattle and asked random passersby a simple question: What is the name of Microsoft’s search engine? At the time, the answer would have been Live Search, but as it turned out, nobody knew that. Responses included everything from MSN and Internet Explorer to Hotmail and Mozilla.

Seven years later, with the news this week that Microsoft’s Bing search engine is making new progress against Google in the search market, we decided to repeat the experiment, taking to the streets and asking the same question: What is the name of Microsoft’s search engine?

In 2016, do people know that the answer is Bing? And more importantly, do they use it? Continue reading to find out.

Katherine Auld (Left) & Katy Brown (Right)
Katherine Auld (Left) & Katy Brown (Right)

Katherine Auld, a student abroad from Edinburgh Scotland: “(Laughs) is it Bing? I want to say Bing… but I don’t know if that’s right. I’m going to say Bing. I don’t know I use Google.”

Katy Brown, also a student abroad from Edinburgh Scotland: “I don’t know… Yahoo? I don’t know, I don’t know. I use Chrome.”

Serra Dernberger
Serra Dernberger

Serra Dernberger, a restaurant cook: “Oh, I know this one…Um… Shoot. I Can’t think of it right now… shoot. I don’t know. I don’t really use it…”

Stephanie Peitromonaco
Stephanie Pietromonaco

Stephanie Pietromonaco, raises money for science research: “MSN? I don’t use it… I think my dad does.”

Trevor Snodgrass
Trevor Snodgrass

Trevor Snodgrass, works for a DNA Sequencing lab: “Oh! Edge! I don’t know anyone that uses it. Maybe my grandma… ”

Rachel Hines
Rachel Hines

Rachel Hines is a Bartender/Geologist. “Is it Google? Bing? Bing! I don’t know anyone who uses Bing, I don’t think it’s a worthwhile search engine. I hate it.”

Chad Hickey
Chad Hickey

Chad Hickey, restaurant worker. “Microsofts search engine is Bing. I don’t use bing because I use google. It’s just what pops up on my computer screen.”

Micheal Falcone & Spencer Judge
Michael Falcone & Spencer Judge, software engineers

Michael Falcone: “Bing. Nope, I don’t use it, I use Google.”

Spencer Judge: “Same here.”

So here’s the bottom line: It seems as though people are indeed more familiar with Microsoft’s search engine than they were in 2009. Most people I encountered knew the name. However, not a single person out of the 15 that I interviewed said they used Bing on a regular basis, or preferred it to Google. So Microsoft still has plenty of room to improve. We’re putting a note on the GeekWire calendar to check back in another six years!

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