Fun with autocomplete: What do Google, Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo think of each other?

Rob Walker
Yahoo! News


Recently we learned the top stereotypes about tech companies, according to Google’s auto-complete suggestions. But maybe it’s not fair to rely on results from just one search engine. So let’s revisit the search engine as internet-wisdom harvester to ask: What do search engines think of each other?

That is: What does Google think about Bing? And what does Bing think about Yahoo? And what does DuckDuckGo think about all of them?

Let’s start by asking all of these search engines what they think about Google.

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Users of Yahoo search asking “Can Google hear me?” is certainly poignant. But it’s perhaps more notable to see that they wonder whether Google offers search functionality. According to my independent research, the answer is yes!



It makes sense that searchers using Microsoft’s Bing have all kinds of issues with Google — but they seem a little paranoid. The notion of searching other search engines does get points for originality.

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What about Google searchers searching Google about Google search? They have worries, too — but note that among them is the touching concern that Google search might be “going away.” I don’t think so.

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You might expect the most cynical searches about Google tobe surfaced via DuckDuckGo — a search engine that touts its superiority inprotecting privacy by pledging not to track your searches. And yet its auto-complete suggestion feature (which currently works only on the app version, not the Web) tells a different story: DuckDuckGo is evidently more interested in using Google Voice on a cruise ship than determining the search giant’s trustworthiness.

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Let’s move on to Microsoft's search engine, Bing.


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Some Yahoo searchers seem very uncertain about Microsoft’s Bing: Is it a search engine, part of Google, or a browser? (More independent research reveals that it is, indeed, a search engine.) Also, the construction "Is bing any good?" suggests a healthy amount of skepticism about the search engine.

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Others seem to feel somewhat at Bing’s mercy, wondering why it is on their computer, and why it is their search engine  — whichis an intriguingly paradoxical question to ask Yahoo’s search engine.

Perhaps not surprisingly, DuckDuckGo searchers seem most interested in evaluating Bing’s privacy protection.



Over at Google, meanwhile, some good news for Bing: Google searchers wonder if the upstart can beat, or at least compete with, the reigning champ. Less-good news for Bing: By and large they seem more interested in cherries.


(Also let’s make sure we appreciate the question that sounds most like the title of novelty hit from the 1930s: “Can Bing Bong Google?)

How about Bing users searching for information about Bing on Bing?


The oddest question raised by Bing searchers about Bing itself is whether it’s a search engine. (Research: Yes!)

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Next, the newcomer: DuckDuckGo.

Yahoo searchers want the basics…

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… while Bing reveals a surprising degree of skepticism. 

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The most skeptical searchers of all, however, seem to bethose using DuckDuckGo itself:


I hope they trust DuckDuckGo’s answers about DuckDuckGo’s trustworthiness? 

Google searchers, meanwhile, seem most preoccupied by DuckDuckGo's bottomline:



Finally, let's see what the rest of the Internet thinks about Yahoo search, the search engine that you (hopefully!) use.

The most compelling queries Yahoo search brings forth involve the existence of Yahoo search itself. Is it merely Google in disguise? Ora cover for Bing? In fact, Yahoo searches are “powered by” Bing, although (as we’ve seen) the algorithm can offer slightly different results, depending on the context.

Bing searchers, meanwhile, are also curious about Yahoo’s search engine— but have evidently ruled out any Google involvement:


Same goes for DuckDuckGo searchers — who don’t even bother to mention Google in comparing the “secure”-ness of search engines:

And, finally, let's see what people searching Google for information about Yahoo search want to know:


Considering that Google has dominated search for ages, it’samusing to note the theme of Google searchers wondering why Yahoo “keeps popping up” in various contexts.

Obviously you’re reading this on Yahoo News, so you might think I’d have some special insight about why this is. I’m sorry — really sorry — to say it, but … searchme!



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