Google: Bing's Search Results are a 'Cheap Imitation'

Google Fellow Amit Singhal recently accused Bing of copying some of Google’s search results. Google had created what it calls “synthetic queries” – test search queries which tie two terms which normally have no connection, and discovered that after a while the same connections start appearing on Bing.

For example, Google created a synthetic query linking the nonsensical word “hiybbprqag” to a result about seating in a theatre in Los Angeles. After a while, the same result appeared on Bing; Google claims that the only way this could have happened is if Bing simply copied the result from them, as the only connection between the query and the result was – Google.

Microsoft’s answer, coming from a company’s spokesperson, was clear but not very revealing: “We do not copy Google’s results.”

Bing Corporate Vice President Harry Shum later expanded Microsoft’s short answer to a more detailed one, essentially claiming that the search results Google claims Bing has been copying have in fact come from Bing’s users.

“We use over 1,000 different signals and features in our ranking algorithm. A small piece of that is clickstream data we get from some of our customers, who opt-in to sharing anonymous data as they navigate the web in order to help us improve the experience for all users,” wrote Shum.

But Google didn’t plan on letting this one go that easily. The company decided to escalate the incident on its official blog with a long post, detailing how its engineers discovered that Bing is copying Google’s results, and what they did to “catch” Bing red-handed.

The post is extremely detailed and reads like a detective story for the tech-minded, so we invite you to read it in its entirety here. Here’s the important bit, though: Google claims that Bing is using “some combination” of IE8, Bing Toolbar and possibly some other means to send data on what people search on Google and what results they click to Bing.

“Put another way, some Bing results increasingly look like an incomplete, stale version of Google results—a cheap imitation,” concludes Google.

The gloves are obviously off, and after a sharp jab like that, we’re sure that we’ll hear more from Microsoft about the story. Stay tuned.

Source: Yahoo, Mashable.