In a battle for search engine supremacy, reports have emerged that Bing has been stealing Google’s search results.
Google have announced that they have strong evidence to prove this, however Bing venemently denies any wrongdoing.
Google alleges that Bing has been watching what people search for on Google, the sites they select from Google’s results, then uses that information to improve Bing’s own search listings.
It all started back in the summer of 2010 when Google was looking at the search result for an unusual, misspelled query “torsorophy” (correctly spelt “tarsorrhaphy”). When Google saw the misspelled query they returned relevant results with the correct spelling. They also noticed that the first result for the query “torsorophy” on Bing was the same as that on Google but for the correctly spelled “tarsorrhaphy”. Confused yet? Then check out the screenshot below. Here is a comparison of the query in question:
It wouldn’t have been much to worry about but knowing that Bing had no results for the misspelling back then left Google quite amazed.
Later that summer, Google noticed that this wasn’t an isolated incident. Google observed that there was a substantial increase in the frequency of Google’s first result showing at the top of Bing’s result page for all types of queries. Now, all this was surely not a coincidence!
To confirm their doubts Google launched a sting operation (how “super-spy” does that sound?). Google created 100 “fake queries”—something users would never type in, for example “hiybbprqag”. As suspected the top result for many of these fake queries started showing up on Bing within a week or two.
Finally, Google concluded that Bing is infact using technology with Internet Explorer 8 to send users search patterns and data back to Bing so that they could mimic Google’s results.
Although Google believes Bing has been caught red hand, Bing’s Director Stefan Weitz denies the allegations by issuing the following statement:
We use multiple signals and approaches in ranking search results. The overarching goal is to do a better job determining the intent of the search so we can provide the most relevant answer to a given query. Opt-in programs like the toolbar help us with click stream data, one of many input signals we and other search engines use to help rank sites. In short We do not copy Google’s results.
And it seems the accusations have just been left at that. A verbal stoush started yesterday on Twitter between Microsoft’s communication head, Frank Shaw and Google’s Matt Cutts. Here’s how it unfolded:
Certainly looks like it’s definitely “game on” between the worlds two biggest search engines!
There was more to the Twitter slinging match between Google and Bing, TechCrunch has more details if you wish to check it out here.
I have no doubt this isn’t the last we have heard of this. Google is hardly going to sit idly by and let Bing ride its coattails. I also believe Microsoft is unlikely to let such bad publicity continue. Sure is exciting times, we will keep you posted on any further developments.