Google slams Microsoft for ‘cheating’

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, February 2, 2011 8:21 EDT
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WASHINGTON – The world’s biggest Internet search company, Google, is accusing rival Microsoft’s Bing of copying its results, a charge Microsoft denies.

“Some Bing results increasingly look like an incomplete, stale version of Google results — a cheap imitation,” said Amit Singhal, one of the company’s search engineers, on Google’s official blog.

The allegations were first reported by search news website, Search Engine Land.

Google had noted that in the summer of 2010 Bing did not return any results for a misspelled search for the surgical eye procedure “tarsorrhaphy.”

“Later in the summer, Bing started returning our first result to their users without offering the spell correction,” Singhal said. “This was very strange.”

The experiment was repeated with nonsensical searches, including “hiybbprqag,” “delhipublicschool40 chdjob,” and “juegosdeben1ogrande,” which Google had designed to produce one result. Bing offered the same result, Google said.

But Microsoft argued its search was different.

“What we saw in today’s story was a spy-novelesque stunt to generate extreme outliers in tail query ranking,” said Bing corporate vice president Harry Shum in an official blog post.

“It was a creative tactic by a competitor, and we’ll take it as a back-handed compliment. But it doesn’t accurately portray how we use opt-in customer data as one of many inputs to help improve our user experience.”

“We use over 1,000 different signals and features in our ranking algorithm,” adding that some of those features include data from users who agree to share anonymous data “as they navigate the web in order to help us improve the experience for all users.”

“We all learn from our collective customers, and we all should,” he said.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
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