Google vs. Microsoft over search results: Top takeaway is Bing matters

Google vs. Microsoft over search results: Top takeaway is Bing matters

Summary: Anyone watching Google and Microsoft spar over search results has to be torn between being shocked and amused. Google accuses Microsoft of stealing its search results for Bing. Microsoft says it doesn't steal Google results. My bottom line: Bing matters.

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Anyone watching Google and Microsoft spar over search results has to be torn between being shocked and amused. Google accuses Microsoft of stealing its search results for Bing. Microsoft says it doesn't steal Google results. A lot of discussion ensues---some of it hysterical. My bottom line: Bing matters.

There's no way Google would give a rat's ass how its public results were being used if it wasn't worried about Bing. Now the Google vs. Microsoft spat is very public, slightly entertaining and makes for great headlines. My biggest issue with this whole battle is that it's a bit fuzzy where the inspiration started and where the theft began. But Google's accusations and Microsoft's denials and explanations are certainly notable. After all, this is the tech industry, a place where everyone builds on the ideas of someone else (you could say copies).

  • Google's business model came from Overture.
  • Google's Android army is arguably a rip off and attempted enhancement of Apple's iPhone.
  • Of course, Oracle would say Android is a Java rip-off.
  • Microsoft's Windows franchise was born as an answer (imitation) to Apple's Mac to some. The reality is both Microsoft and Apple ripped off Xerox's PARC. OK, "ripped off" is too strong. Both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs went to PARC and got inspired to copy a UI.
  • Google has a bevy of social experiments that look like Facebook and Twitter envy to me.
  • Isn't Google Docs inspired by well, Office?
  • Microsoft's Xbox is the result of Sony PlayStation envy.
  • Zune is an iPod wannabe.
  • Microsoft's Office got its start by emulating the likes of WordPerfect and Lotus Notes and then squashing them.
  • Internet Explorer was an answer to Netscape's Navigator.

I could go on for at least another 10 bullet points. Funny how that works eh? But that's the tech industry. Of course, Bing is going to emulate Google results. Google is the big dog. Your results have to be at least as good as Google's.

Google’s ‘Bing Sting’ evidence (screenshots)

Now Google's case is notable. Bing has matched misspelled terms. Is this theater from Google or scientific evidence? Who knows? We're in the middle of a Google said, Microsoft said pissing match. And honestly, I don't have much of an informed opinion to say who's right.  My guess is that this is a country of Microsoft, Google and Apple states---and little to no agreement. Your take will follow your bias and preference for each vendor.

I do know the following (as judged by the actions of both Google and Microsoft):

  • First, both Google and Microsoft will protect their respective turf. We have two juggernauts that arguably are more comfortable playing defense and protecting cash cows.
  • Second, it's a bit fuzzy what this "protect this house" approach means for innovation if anything.
  • And finally. Microsoft's Bing matters. Bing launches a new interface. Google mimics the approach with its results---at least until everyone screams Bing envy It took a while, but Bing has gotten under Google's skin---at least enough to warrant a roundhouse punch.

Topics: Microsoft, Browser, Google

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72 comments
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  • Wrong

    There's a difference in imitation and outright plagiarism. This is using someone else's work product with no creativity ingredient at all. Someone put it quite nicely. BING = Bing Is Now Google. So here you go. Build your own search engine just like Bing. Just enter a search term. http://nerd.bz/i1CQiu
    wmundy
    • Bing Matters.. only to MS

      and its fans. No one else in their right mind would use Bing.
      Uralbas
      • RE: Google vs. Microsoft over search results: Top takeaway is Bing matters

        @Uralbas Apparently Google disagrees with you.
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • Uralbas, we could argue that it matters to you, and

        [i]alot[/i] of people here, because the same people just post anything they can about MS, as long as it's highly critical and [b]always[/b] negative.

        You would think that you'd be quite happy with your choice of OS, Search company, tablets; even insulting the people here who use MS products is enough to warrent a negative response from you and your friends.

        Obviously it matters a great deal to you what we use and what we think, so more power to us!
        John Zern
      • RE: Google vs. Microsoft over search results: Top takeaway is Bing matters

        @Uralbas

        Hmmm. So because I use Bing, I'm insane? I'm happy with Bing and especially happy with it on my WP7 phone.

        So when you choose between software developed by an advertising company and a software development company, you choose advertising - who's not in their right mind again?
        tonymcs@...
      • Your wrong, Loverock Davidson uses Bing and he's in his right mind

        or that is at least what Bing said ...... but on the other hand Google said he was a trol ......... I think Google was 100% correct in this case ..... go Google :-)
        Over and Out
    • Not a big deal

      This is analogous to Best Buy having an employee stand outside Fry's Electronics to find out what the most popular purchases are and then making sure Best Buy has the same items prominently displayed on their shelves.

      Is that illegal? I don't think so. Microsoft didn't actually copy Google's search results, they only looked at which of Google's search results the user clicked on. Google themselves monitor what users are clicking on in their search results, for optimization purposes.

      Google has a dominant market share. If Microsoft only looked at their own clickstream that wouldn't be enough data. So they have to look at Google's clickstream data too. Google would do the same if Bing was the dominant search engine.
      interlocutor
      • RE: Google vs. Microsoft over search results: Top takeaway is Bing matters

        @interlocutor
        What? No it's not. It would be analogous to you writing a book an me copying it word for word and then selling it myself.
        slackgawd
      • RE: Google vs. Microsoft over search results: Top takeaway is Bing matters

        @interlocutor It's questionable because we're talking about implied consent of the user to have their click stream recorded while searching on a product separate from their own. When you use IE, do you generally expect that your click stream will be used for analytics? When you go to Google, should you expect that analytical data from that visit will go to microsoft simply because you used their browser? No.
        snoop0x7b
      • RE: Google vs. Microsoft over search results: Top takeaway is Bing matters

        @interlocutor:

        Well, I, for one, have not seen any truth that Bing copies Google search results. With some topics I actually have to switch my search engine to Google to get the results I'm looking for to come up. In Bing they will be there but several pages away, and I don't want to flip the web pages to get the one I'm looking for.

        Besides, who owns search data anyway?? As long as Bing has not copied Google's search code, Bing has the right to offer the same results. There are more ways than one way to create the same information or products in this world. Anyone doubt that then, look at the auto, electronics, or computer industries - we have essentially the same products coming from many different companies.

        So, this Google vs Bing search result argument is simply ridiculous.
        mustang_z
      • RE: Google vs. Microsoft over search results: Top takeaway is Bing matters

        @slackgawd
        Wow - talk about Fan Boy...
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • The evidence is indisputable

        @mustang_z
        "Well, I, for one, have not seen any truth that Bing copies Google search results."
        You obviously haven't even looked at the "sting operation" linked above. The evidence is akin to leaving your fingerprints on the murder weapon, having your DNA under the victim's fingernails, and being caught on CC video. Google created several nonsense, non-word queries, manually linked those to pages that had nothing to do with the queries, then saw the same results pop up on Bing for *every result*. There's no way for that to happen unless Bing is scraping Google for its top link.

        This may or may not be illegal, but it's certainly extremely embarrassing for MS, especially after they have denied the practice.
        daengbo
    • RE: Google vs. Microsoft over search results: Top takeaway is Bing matters

      @wmundy +1
      Rigel.628
  • Microsoft spies on your Google searches

    You're missing the BIG ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM, when you search on Google with that toolbar, it is spying on you and sending the data to Microsoft.

    The copying is incidental to the SPYING ON USERS OF ITS TOOLBAR!

    That's a massive privacy issue.

    Then they're stupid enough to get caught, and what you call a denial isn't they CONFIRMED they use other search engines as a quality signal:

    "one of many input signals we and other search engines use to help rank sites"

    But FFS, those misspelled words and the result they bring up, they were only entered by users into GOOGLE and that result only seen by users of Google.

    Tell me, did they go so far are to track HTTPS session? Login? Password? What else does that toolbar send to Microsoft?

    What it tells me, is that they are at best a poor copy. Like a fake Chinese iPod knockoff, it means that their results are always an out of date version of Googles results.
    guihombre
    • Turnabout is fair play

      @guihombre

      Google has been spying on customers with every "service" it offers since its inception. The only entity Google is servicing is itself.

      Also, Bing toolbar's data collection is optional, while Google's is not.
      Joe_Raby
      • RE: Google vs. Microsoft over search results: Top takeaway is Bing matters

        @Joe_Raby
        No it's not. If it was Bling would no longer exist. (Unless they stole their data from someone else. Hmmmm.)
        slackgawd
      • Try again

        @Joe_Raby

        When you install, it even prompts you to turn on or off usage data collection, as does all Microsoft software. Google's has no such option at all. If you turn it off, you can even track the toolbar and no information is sent to Microsoft, except for what you type into the Bing search section of it, or when you click on a service icon, both of which are required for obvious reasons: to call up the respective webpage. They don't collect usage analytics on your usage patterns of the product though, unless you specify that you want to give them that data.
        Joe_Raby
      • RE: Google vs. Microsoft over search results: Top takeaway is Bing matters

        @slackgawd
        Wow you actually believe that...good luck with that.
        ItsTheBottomLine
    • Right, guihombre

      which is why people are looking elsewhere to sites like Bing, because Google is just "so much more up to date."

      You have to think these things through. Google is becoming the cheap knockoff here. Seems they're the ones copying MS, Apple, ect.
      John Zern
  • Sorry teach, I was "inspired" by the student sitting next to me

    When I copied his test answers, I was just being inspired. Besides, he originally got the answers from the textbook, so everybody does it. I really seem to have gotten under your skin! How entertaining.
    HollywoodDog