The Bing Sting

By SANDY FLOREZ

Ever wonder how search engines compile their results? Well, apparently Bing has too.

According to Google, Bing has engaged in some major copycatting — except it’s less playground and more geek. Search Engine Land writer Danny Sullivan first wrote about the accusation in: Google: Bing is Cheating, Copying Our Search Results. Just a few days ago, Google posted an extensive blog entry that announced that Bing had been copying Google search results. In the report, Google extensively explains the lengths to which it thinks Bing has gone to copy its results, and the lengths to which it has gone to prove it.

Basically, the folks over at Google got a little suspicious. But how could they prove it? The Googlers decided to develop something they call “synthetic query” — a word or phrase that no user would ever search. Among the 100 synthetic queries created, was “hiybbprqag.” And so, Google linked a real website that, obviously, had nothing to do with “hiybbprqag” and made it the result that would appear.

This is where Googlers engaged in some investigative journalism.

We gave 20 of our engineers laptops with a fresh install of Microsoft Windows running Internet Explorer 8 with Bing Toolbar installed. As part of the install process, we opted in to the “Suggested Sites” feature of IE8, and we accepted the default options for the Bing Toolbar.

We asked these engineers to enter the synthetic queries into the search box on the Google home page, and click on the results, i.e., the results we inserted. We were surprised that within a couple weeks of starting this experiment, our inserted results started appearing in Bing.

— Amit Singhal, “Microsoft’s Bing uses Google Search results — and denies it,” Official Google blog

Unfortunately for Bing, it seems to have been caught red-hiybbprqag.

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