The Ultimate Search Engine Fight: Google and Microsoft

Several other synthetic queries generated the same results. Thus, on Feb 1st 2011, Google claimed via SearchEngineLand.com that Microsoft is copying its search results with Bing and that this practice must stop.

In response, Microsoft’s spokesperson said, “We do not copy Google’s results.” The official response by Stefan Weitz (Director, Bing):

“We use multiple signals and approaches in ranking search results.  The overarching goal is to do a better job determining the intent of the search so we can provide the most relevant answer to a given query. Opt-in programs like the toolbar help us with clickstream data, one of many input signals we and other search engines use to help rank sites.”

Microsoft’s explanation of the Google’s claim went that they use over 1, 000 different “signals” to create its search algorithm to help enhance the customer experience. Harry Shum, Bing Corporate Vice President, reports in his blog:

“To be clear, we learn from all of our customers. What we saw in today’s story was a spy-novelesque stunt to generate extreme outliers in tail query ranking. 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.”

Bing’s privacy policy states that it owns the rights to use data collected to “improve its sites and services” which suggests the usage of click data in Bing’s algorithm. Had Google manually altered their rankings, and NOT provided Bing with corresponding click data, Google’s accusations would have been supported if Bing’s rankings mimicked Google’s. Unfortunately, Google did provide user click data because of which their entire experiment merely proved that click data influenced Bing’s rankings in 9 of the 100 search queries Google manufactured, NOT that Google’s rankings were copied in any way, shape, or form.






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