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Mental Models and Internet Search

What Internet search engine would you choose in a blind test?

This brings back memories of the Coke versus Pepsi blind taste test.

We know that people prefer Pepsi in small quantities, like a sip. However, most people also prefer drinking Coke because of their association with the brand.

In something conceptually similar you can now do a blind search engine test.

It provides results from Google, Yahoo and Bing in three columns but doesn’t tell you which column is which search engine. You then tell it which one you think shows the best results …

TechCrunch, the influential technical blog, offers the following insight

A few search engine experts we’ve spoken with over the years say that users tend to think Google results are better just because they’re from Google. If you take any search engine and put the logo on top, it tests better. So Yahoo results with a Google logo will always test better than, say, Google results with the Yahoo or Bing logo. People are just used to thinking about Google as the best search.

So users tend to think Google is better because it's Google. This happens for a lot of fascinating psychological reasons — association, commitment and consistency, liking-loving, availability, etc.

Both Coke and Google have consumer mind share which is an incredibly powerful psychological force.

Early results show that Google does not deserve it's 70% market share based on results alone.

As for our own test, querying Farnam Street got the best results with Google.