The evidence looks damning: Suspecting that Microsoft’s Bing search engine was copying some of its search results, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) planted results for never-searched terms like “hybbprqag,” in what Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan calls a “Bing Sting,” and voila the same results showed up when a user searched for that term on Bing.
Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), however, insists it does not copy Google’s search results and instead says that it uses more than 1,000 different signals to rank results. In other words, Microsoft seems to be admitting that while one of those signals is Google’s search results, there are many others too, which explains why the vast majority of results on the two search engines are not the same.
The accusations of copying come on the same day that Microsoft is hosting a forum on the future of search. In its response, Microsoft calls the accusations “interestingly timed” and, indeed, they seem to be completely overshadowing the event itself. AlleyInsider’s Matt Rosoff writes that a Google employee accused Bing of copying the results at the forum, while a Bing employee countered by saying that Google was profiting from spam. What a productive discussion!
So, will anything now change because of the accusations? Microsoft isn’t giving any indication that it’s going to adjust the signals it uses to rank its results. For its part, Google, while it may be reveling in embarrassing its rival, isn’t giving any indication that it’s going to take any legal action against Microsoft. A Google executive tells Sullivan that he’s “hesitant” to say that Microsoft broke the law.