It’s not often that the major technology companies start accusing each other of cheating directly. In fact, while constantly at each other’s throats, these groups usually pretend to play nice — while doing everything legally possible to prevent each other from progressing. With that in mind, it’s been a very entertaining week, with Google accusing Bing of cheating by using Google’s search engine results, Bing denying it, and now Google providing some backup to their claims.
It all started with a post from Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land, which evoked a fairly immediate response in the simple line of “We do not copy Google’s results,” quoted over at ZDNet. Now Google is bringing the battle to their home turf with a full blog post on the topic — all designed to substantiate the claim.
Amit Singhal, the Google Fellow who’s backing up the accusations, runs us through the entire story. It starts with the term “tarsorrhaphy,” a surgical procedure that almost no one knows about — and that Google was the first to find the common misspellings for. While Google queries for the misspelled word returned the typical smug “didn’t you mean” suggestion, Bing seemed to be lifting the top Google result without bothering to give the corrected spelling.
However, this was just the start. Google reps started looking at the query results from Bing, focusing on both common and bizarre terms to get a sense of the field. The definite trend was that the top Google result, even when it was “something [Google] would consider mistakes of our algorithms,” was displayed as the top Bing result.