Bing has come under fire after Google claims that the Microsoft-owned search engine has been plagiarising Google's own search results.
By planting manually ranked pages for certain unusual search terms (ever searched for hiybbprqag?), Google watched to see if Bing picked up its randomly inserted results (The Wiltern seating charts). It did.
A grim example
It cites the example of searching for 'torsoraphy', which Google corrects to 'tarsorrhaphy' and returns search results for the correctly-spelt word (not one for the squeamish, it refers to a surgical procedure in which the eyelids are sewn together).
The same search on Bing does not correct the spelling but does returns results for 'tarsorrhaphy' anyway – of course, there's a chance that Bing has a spelling correction algorithm at work behind the scenes here, but it was these kinds of results that set alarm bells ringing over at Google HQ.
Far from straight-up denying the claims, Stefan Weitz, director of Bing, told SearchEngineLand, "As you might imagine, we use multiple signals and approaches when we think about ranking, but like the rest of the players in this industry, we're not going to go deep and detailed in how we do it.
"Clearly, the overarching goal is to do a better job determining the intent of the search, so we can guess at the best and most relevant answer to a given query.
"Opt-in programs like the [Bing] toolbar help us with clickstream data, one of many input signals we and other search engines use to help rank sites. This "Google experiment" seems like a hack to confuse and manipulate some of these signals."
Whatever way Bing spins it, Google is unhappy with the situation.
As Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow, said, "I've got no problem with a competitor developing an innovative algorithm. But copying is not innovation, in my book."
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Former UK News Editor for TechRadar, it was a perpetual challenge among the TechRadar staff to send Kate (Twitter, Google+) a link to something interesting on the internet that she hasn't already seen. As TechRadar's News Editor (UK), she was constantly on the hunt for top news and intriguing stories to feed your gadget lust. Kate now enjoys life as a renowned music critic – her words can be found in the i Paper, Guardian, GQ, Metro, Evening Standard and Time Out, and she's also the author of 'Amy Winehouse', a biography of the soul star.