A very lengthy analysis over at Search Engine Land was posted this morning, detailing a “sting” executed by Google to prove that Bing is ripping off their search engine results.
Using some fairly obscure search terms and even more obscure misspellings of the words, Google lays out a case that they say proves Bing is piggybacking off their carefully built, genre dominating ranking algorithms. Danny Sullivan explains the copyright trap into which Google says Bing readily tumbled:
In the example above, Google’s searched for the correct spelling — tarsorrhaphy — even though torsoraphy was entered. Notice the top listing for the corrected spelling is a page about the medical procedure at Wikipedia.
Over at Bing, the misspelling is NOT corrected — but somehow, Bing manages to list the same Wikipedia page at the top of its results as Google does for its corrected spelling results [pic]… Got it? Despite the word being misspelled — and the misspelling not being corrected — Bing still manages to get the right page from Wikipedia at the top of its results, one of four total pages it finds from across the web. How did it do that?
Sullivan contacted Bing about the findings, and Bing didn’t deny Google’s claims, but did say the experiment sounded “like a hack to confuse and manipulate some of these [data collection] signals.” Google was pretty snitty about the whole situation, and Google Fellow Amit Singhal fumed:
“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.”
The Search Engine Land piece heavily, if understandably, came heavily down on the side of Google having a right to be pissed about the Bing-related findings. Forbes had a different take, saying that Google should turn the issue into an ad campaign- “Google: Search So Good, Even Bing Uses It.”
Do you think Google has a right to be irked about Bing’s apparent lifting of at least some of their work?