Bing responds to Google's search-stealing accusations

Bing V Google - round two
Bing V Google - round two

Google accused Bing of stealing its search algorithms this week, which has prompted a small war of words between the search giant and the, well, search not-so giant.

It turns out that Google has been adding gobbledygook to its search engine that, when searched for, will come up with one result.

The problem is that these Googlewhacks also appear on Bing, which has prompted Google to point the finger and brand Bing as an "incomplete, stale version - a cheap imitation" of Google. Ouch.

Bing has responded with its own blog, which tries to dampen any talk of algorithm plagiarism, explaining: "The Bing engineering team has been working hard over the past couple of years to deliver the best search relevance and quality in the industry and for our users. This is our top priority every day.

Share and share alike

"We use over 1,000 different signals and features in our ranking algorithm. A small piece of that is clickstream data we get from some of our customers, who opt-in to sharing anonymous data as they navigate the web in order to help us improve the experience for all users."

It is, apparently, this "small piece of that is clickstream data" that is causing queries like 'juegosdeben1ogrande' and 'delhipublicschool40 chdjob' to come up with the same search results.

Bing said about the accusations: "It's 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."

In the end, Google is taking the moral higher ground, saying: "To all the users out there looking for the most authentic, relevant search results, we encourage you to come directly to Google.

"And to those who have asked what we want out of all this, the answer is simple: we'd like for this practice to stop."

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.