Google’s “Bing Sting” Bears Fruit—But is It Sour Grapes?
Google claimed this week that Microsoft’s Bing search engine has been copying its search results. Google had suspected something was up for a while, so it had its engineers create 100 nonsensical queries such as "hiybbprqag" and insert a fake result for each. Sure enough, those results turned up on Bing within a few weeks.
Microsoft flatly denied the claims—accusing Google of engaging in “spy-novelesque stunts.” Bing vice president Harry Shum added, “We do not copy Google’s search results. Opt-in programs like the toolbar help us with clickstream data, one of many input signals we and other search engines use to help rank sites.”
However, Google’s Amit Singhai told SearchEngineLand.com that Microsoft was gathering data on what people search for on Google, via either Internet Explorer or the Bing Search toolbar.
No matter which company you believe, there is a broader issue at work here that should concern Internet users.
Writing in a post on Bing’s community blog, Mehdi said, “Google’s 'experiment' was rigged to manipulate Bing search results…the same type of attack employed by spammers on the web to trick consumers and produce bogus search results.”
Whether that’s true or not, it could be for a U.S. court to decide, should Microsoft press the matter. Regardless, this may just be a PR ploy by Google to maintain its grip as the most popular U.S. search engine. Bing has been making small inroads on Google, but as of last December, its 12 percent U.S. market share was still dwarfed by Google’s 66 percent market share. (Source: Comscore)