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Did Bing copy Google’s search results? What?

February 3rd, 2011 | Data and Information Analysis | No Comments »

Google is claiming that Bing is copying its search results…..what? To me this sounds a little sketchy. Google is a search engine. Bing is, also, a search engine.  So wouldn’t their results be the same if they are looking at the same stuff. (meaning the all the things tagged with whatever word a person is looking for)

But, wait. Let’s see what PC World’s article says. According to the article, Google discovered Bing methods through a “sting” (yes the actually used the word sting) operation. First they created some specific pages to appear in the search results and then they had a bunch of their engineers go home and use Explorer’s suggested sites feature and Bing’s toolbar to search for certain things. Then after two weeks, Google found that the same search results were on Bing.

The specific pages had nothing to do with the keywords and Google just made the pages appear in the search results.  Now according to Microsoft, they use a variety of different approaches, including using (opt-in) customer search data, to get their search results. This article goes into more detail, some of which I don’t fully understand. (I’m not majoring in Computer Science.)

Also, according to the article linked above, Explorer users may technically know (’cause really who tries to slog through the privacy policy?) that their browsing data may be used. [ Suggested sites, does what it’s name implies; it suggests sites related to what you are looking at.] Then there’s the Bing toolbar which also looks at a user’s browsing history. On the other hand, according to Google, Google Toolbar and Chrome don’t send back browsing history. Google toolbar, however, does relay site speed which may be a factor in Google’s page rank system.

So overall, Bing may or may not have copied Google’s search results. Bing says that it uses a wide variety of factors, user data, and many search algorithms. However, Google views what Bing may or may not have done as cheating and unfair even though it is not illegal.

What do you all think?

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