Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Did Bing Really Steal Google's Data?

Kinda looks that way.

To put it in a nutshell, Google suspected that Microsoft's search engine, Bing, was leeching off of theirs by actually copying their search results by way of the Bing toolbar in Internet Explorer. The search giant noticed that there was an amazing amount of overlap between their own results and Microsoft's- red flags went up at multi-color headquarters.

So to test their theory, Google crooked the books and for the first time ever- manipulated their own search terms. They set up a nonsense page to be generated by a nonsense search that no one would ever search for out in the user land because it had no meaning whatsoever. Google employees then searched for the fictitious page from their own PC's at home for a few weeks using IE with the Bing toolbar installed.

Then they checked in on the result of their little experiment and sure enough, there was the page that meant nothing at the end of the search that meant nothing... on Bing. But here's the tricky part: Bing clearly states in their user agreement that they use end users searches to help make up their database. What that means is that Google can't actually prove any dirty pool went down, which sucks for them if this is true. What they can do though is finger-point. They can finger-point really, really, hard.