As a boatload more people use Google to search for results than Bing could ever possibly dream of, it’s not surprising the Bing team has been caught copying and correcting misspelled search terms, with data mined from Google search results.
Blog Search Engine Land uses the example of “torsoraphy”, which Google corrects to the correct spelling of “tarsorrhaphy” and brings up relevant search results for that term. Head on over to Bing and type in that misspelled word, and what do you see? The same search results, but no correction.
Apparently Google has been aware of this over close to a year now – but what to do? Google engineers thought long and hard, and set up a sting operation. You can read the whole story over on the Search Engine Land blog, but basically Google concluded that Microsoft was copying Google’s results using Internet Explorer.
You could argue that if it’s not illegal, what’s the big issue? If it helps Bing become a better search engine – and maybe even spur on Google to crank the gears a little faster – then surely we should just accept it, for the greater good and so on?
Just hear what Google Fellow Amit Singhal feels of the situation: “it’s cheating to me because we work incredibly hard and have done so for years but they just get there based on our hard work… I don’t know how else to call it but plain and simple cheating. Another analogy is that it’s like running a marathon and carrying someone else on your back, who jumps off just before the finish line.”
However incredible you and I may find this story, I find it doubtful a heist movie will ever be made about it. Unless Brad Pitt and George Clooney sink enough money into the production… [Search Engine Land]
UPDATE: Naturally, Microsoft’s spokespeople have weighed in with “we do not copy Google’s results”, but tell us what you think?