Google Runs Sting Operation to Prove Bing Copies Results

Published by: Kelly Curtis on 2nd Feb 2011 | View all blogs by Kelly Curtis
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Google Runs Sting Operation to Prove Bing Copies Results

Engineers at Google Inc. are claiming that rival Internet search company, Microsoft's Bing, is copying search results from the world's #1 engine.  Suspicious of the new competition on the block, Google staff set up random results on the Google site for a handful of unlikely search terms, such as “hiybbprqag”, which they set up to lead to a Los Angeles theater seating plan when searched on Google.

The sting operation proved Google's suspicions, engineers said, as the fake results began surfacing on Bing within a couple of weeks.  They said that they welcome honest competition, but not Bing's use of “recycled search results from a competitor.”  Bing claims that Google's results are taken into account when producing its own search results, but that they are just one factor out of many.

“We use over 1,000 different signals and features in our ranking algorithm,” Bing executive Harry Shum commented, referring to the mathematical code search engines use to determine results.  Every company ostensibly develops its own algorithms, and the quality of results relies on them, making them an important factor in a search engine's effectiveness.

Shum seemingly waved off the Google allegations and their undercover operation as “a creative tactic by a competitor, and we'll take it as a back-handed compliment.”  At the time Google initiated the sting operation, it controlled more than 70 percent of the US search engine market, while Bing had less than 10 percent.

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