An acrimonious competition prevails between Google and Microsoft since Microsoft’s introduction of Bing. This conflict seems to have escalated once again over the past few days. Search engine provider Google alleges that Microsoft improves search results of Bing by partially copying Google’s results.
Online magazine Search Engine Land reported that Google trapped Bing by the means of a “honey pot” in order to prove the supposing search result theft. The so called “honey pot” consisted of an index manipulated by Google that connected specific search keywords, that never resulted in any hits previously, seemingly randomly with certain websites. One of these keywords was for instance “mbzrxpgjys” which pointed at the homepage of RIM. One to two weeks later Bing achieved the same or very similar search results as Google with some of the by Google manipulated and monitored search keywords. The investigation ran over a few months and the result was proof enough for Google that Microsoft was cribbing from its big competitor. The feature “Suggested Sites” or the Bing Toolbar would probably create the needed necessary information for Microsoft. These opt-in programs provide amongst others information regarding click activities of its users.
Armit Singhal, a Google Fellow who oversees the development of the Google Ranking Algorithm, adds that during his career he has always been in pursuit of a good search engine. He has no problem with a competitor developing an innovative algorithm – but as far as he is concerned simply copying would not be an innovation.
Microsoft Director for Bing, Stefan Weitz, reacts relaxed: “We are using varied information and procedures”. There however was no explicit rejection of the charge. As with other providers, no information regarding how exactly the ranking mechanism works was given. The user behaviour simply gets analysed anonymously and Google’s charges are an attempt to damage Microsoft said Yusuf Mehdi, Senior Vice President – Online Services Division.