Google has accused Bing of copying its search results to improve Microsoft’s search engine.
The story began last May when the Google team that deals with refining the algorithm that recognizes misspelled words started noticing that Bing was recognizing the same terms misspelled the same way.
Suspicious, the Google engineers decided to conduct a test and came up with terms like “hiybbprqag” associated with arbitrary results. A group of them tried to search for those terms in their homes using their personal PCs, Internet Explorer and the Bing Toolbar. Within two weeks Bing returned the same results artificially inserted into Google.
Bing vice president said that the Microsoft search engine uses over a thousand signals and features to determine the search results and among them there’s a group of users who voluntarily provide their information about their web browsing dismissing Google claims as an attempt to create a sort of spy story about nothing.
At this point one wonders if the data entered by Google as bait have been supplied by one of its employees who participated in the Bing monitoring experiment, otherwise you have to think that Bing really uses Google among its sources to determine its search results.
Inevitably, companies that operate in a certain field control each other and in the case of search engines any check can be made directly but between controlling the results of a competitor and using them there’s a difference.
The Farsight Conference 2011 which has as its central topic the new frontiers of Internet searches has become these days the scene of an exchange of accusations between Google and Bing that went beyond the alleged copy of Google results raising other issues and who knows what developments there may still be.
In all this Rich Skrenta, co-founder of the Blekko search engine which started its operations a few months ago, during the Conference noted that the issue is part of a bigger problem, namely that there are only two search engines that dominate that market. Let’s remember that last year Yahoo signed an agreement with Microsoft so now what was a stand-alone search engine has become essentially an interface for Bing.
Obviously Rich Skrenta is involved in this market as Blekko aspires to become an important search engine, it’s also true that it’s trying to do it offering users the ability to obtain more sophisticated searches with additional information. Blekko essentially provides a service with added value rather than continuing to work on the basic service and participate in the mutual pursuit of Google and Bing that started this issue.