Musings and a place to store stuff

Leave a comment

Bing is Cheating, Copying from Google

Google are claiming that a honey trap sting operation they conducted proves that Bing steals search results from Google.

They randomly generated 100 meaningless strings of characters and pointed them at 100 random websites. This means that should you search on google for one of these random strings (extremely unlikely unless you knew what they were) then you would get back the one dummy search result. This basically means that there should be no way that any other search engine could give the same results (the random strings are not anywhere on the internet so impossible to discover by crawling or indexing). Then google gave 20 new computers to employees, running IE8 and Bing search bar and had them search for the strings on google. A few days later the same results start showing up on Bing.

“Foul” shouts google, Bing is ‘cheating’

To clarify  though what’s actually happening is IE8/Bing toolbar are monitoring what the users doing (IF YOU ALLOW IT TO IMPROVE THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE). So Microsoft are not mining google in any way, they are learning about the relationship between the random strings and the website that was subsequently visited by the 20 google employees, through the Bing toolbar, they’re not simply passing a search across to google and returning the results.

I like the comments in the thread below – which points out how hypocritical it is of google to complain about this – after all the nature of the search engine is to collect and index everything that isn’t yours. Google have got into several hissy fits where they’ve screamed ‘free data’ while gathering other people’s legitimate content (against their will) and then past it on as if it were their own making money in the process (online museums, online art galleries, books and newspapers).

They’ve got into trouble for photographing your house and capturing wi-fi data in your street (just in case), they suck up every bit of info like a sponge – so why shouldn’t Microsoft try to improve its search engine by monitoring the relevancy of your browser searches and acting on them, as Microsoft have stated this is one piece of info in about a thousand considerations that normally impact search results. Google have just been fairly sneaky in deliberately removing all other factors to make this one seem more important.