Want Scotland Election Results? Don’t Bother Asking Google Or Bing


It’s not often you have a vote that might create a new, independent nation. But that’s what’s happening today with Scotland. It’s such a big event that you’d think Google and Bing would be doing something special to provide election results. That’s not the case.

Both search engines have long done special presentations for US elections or even sporting events like the recent World Cup and Olympics. But the referendum on whether the country of Scotland would separate from the United Kingdom — its federation with England, Wales and Northern Ireland – isn’t getting any special attention.

Here at Search Engine Land, we’ve been watching both search engines all day, as the vote has been underway. It seemed surprising that there was nothing unusual being presented, but we thought perhaps that’s because results weren’t in.

Now the first results have come out, for the Clackmannanshire council area. More will be coming shortly, and it’s clear that neither search engine will be providing any special formats to show them directly.

Here’s Google, for a search on scotland vote:

Google Scotland vote

As you can see, it looks like any typical search results page, versus this type of presentation that happened for the 2012 US elections:

election results - Google Search

A search for other topics such as “Scotland election,” “Scotland results” or just “Scotland” didn’t produce anything special, either. Nor did going to Google UK reveal anything unusual there, either.

Over at Bing, this is what appears for Scotland vote:


Along the right-side of the screen, kudos to Bing for doing much better than Google in providing some special related information about the election generally. It shows general info from Wikipedia about the referendum, links to some of the related people for the election, plus tweets that are deemed relevant.

Bing has been providing predictions for the Scottish vote over the past few days. Today, this changed to a final prediction for the overall outcome, a 48.7% Yes vote versus 51.3% for No. But anything about the actual vote, as it’s coming in? Nothing, nor anything for some related searches.

A check at Yahoo, Ask.com, Blekko, Yandex and Duck Duck Go also show nothing special happening at those search engines.

The lack of special attention is especially surprising because there’s clearly great interest in the vote. It’s the top trending item for Google Trends in the United States, fifth globally and “Scottish independence” is third-most in the UK:

Google Trends Scotland

By the way, if you are after those results, I’d suggest stopping off at the BBC, which has a dedicated Scottish vote page with them (one that isn’t being listed by Google or Bing yet. So does the Guardian.

Postscript (Sept. 19, 5am ET): Now that all the election results are in, Bing has updated its prediction box to show the final count for the No vote (which won) as well as what it predicted:

Bing Scotland result

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