One of the long standing criticism about software and search engines has been the reliance on US english as a default setting. Even with search engines the sheer volume of traffic from UK or USA has long affected search results and even suggested results. Often search results are also skewed by language settings such as UK (english) or US (english) and many of the results shown in the search results are for websites or companies not offering services in your local country. So a keyword query may still show UK websites because of the common language shared between Australia and the United Kingdom.
Localised Regional Results for Australia
Sometimes some of the features rolled out don’t actually work as well as advertised so this recent update to Google Suggest seemed worthy of a blog post. Google has long tried to offer suggested results shown below your query as you type but it seems they have finally clicked that US or UK queries are different to Australian users.
Did you mean still US focused
It seems that not everything is yet rolled out outside the US markets for some of the other improved results for enhanced spelling for names using the did you mean link. This feature is useful as each country/language can spell common names slightly different.
Google vs Bing
Below are a number of real examples of Australian terms and how the new improved localised search results offer a vast improvement over past search suggestion results.
Localised Search Queries for Google.com.au and Bing.com.au
Partial Search Query Keyword: “AFL”
Google Analysis: Much of the results proved to be relevant but could have been better if they had of been matched to my Brisbane location and offered AFL news/results for the Brisbane Lions.
Bing Analysis: Bing seemed to offer some less relevant results as the top result relates to the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations and the 3rd result was related to a US/European Fiber/Telecommunications company.
Partial Search Query Keyword: “Bridge”
Google Analysis: The Google suggested results seem to have a few related results such as the annual “Bridge to Brisbane” marathon, it also featured popular Novel/Film “Bridge to Terabithia” but fails to be fully relevant as “Bridgewater Mill” is located in Adelaide, South Australia.
Bing Analysis: The Bing suggested results seemed to fall short of offering anything geographically relevant, with financial products, corporate housing/apartment companies and entertainment novels/games.
Partial Search Query Keyword: “Broncos”
Google Analysis: The results are quite well matched to the search intention, but could be improved with some news/fresh topic suggestions.
Bing Analysis: The 4th result “Broncos Country” is actually related to the Denver Broncos along with “Broncos Post”, and it is less likely that Brisbane based residents would mean “Broncos for sale”. Also the actual Bing image results are only related to the NFL team “Denver Broncos” even as the top result is for the “Brisbane Broncos”.
Partial Search Query Keyword: “Clem”
Google Analysis: The Clem7 is the latest billion dollar traffic tunnel to open in Brisbane and BBDO’s Brisbane office is “Clemenger BBDO”, but fails to be relevant as “Clemton Park Public School” is located in New South Wales and not Queensland.
Bing Analysis: Bing seems to miss the entire intention of the search query and it seems much of the results are related to Clemson University based in South Carolina, USA.
Partial Search Query Keyword: “Cricket”
Google Analysis: Most of the results seem relevant but would be useful to see location specific suggestions such as the “Brisbane Bulls” or even “Cricket Queensland”.
Bing Analysis: Bing search suggestions seem to miss the mark on a number of suggestions as it offers suggestions around US Wireless cellphone companies and broadband services.
Partial Search Query Keyword: “Opera”
Google Analysis: Google understands that the intention would likely be around the Opera House in Sydney, but also offers some suggestions matched to technology with the “Opera Browser” and “Opera Mini”, along with local band “Operator Please”
Bing Analysis: Bing seems to miss the entire geographic relevance with a pure tech focus, and even offering a suggestion for “Opera House Boston” which is far less likely and much less known than the Australian Opera House.
How the new results compare against Bing
Hopefully Bing also makes some updates and improves its localised results as they gather more search query data from Australian users. I have run several search queries on Google.com.au and Bing.com.au shown above in the screenshots and you can see the difference that the regional tailored search results offer. The image results for both search companies also seems to be mixed with a failure to offer geographic relevant images consistently. The big difference in results is also based on the vast difference in search query data that is used to refine suggested results, so its likely that Bing will improve and hopefully soon…