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Google accuses Bing of stealing search results

by Kelly MacNeil on February 2, 2011

Google accused Microsoft's Bing search engine of imitating internet search results on Tuesday, further escalating a feud between the two technology giants. Google detailed its accusations in a blog post chronicling an operation it carried out toward the end of last year that it used to prove the indiscretion, PC World reports.

In order to expose Bing, Google created a list of several search terms that were specially formatted to show certain results only in their search engine. It then had a handful of employees go home and use Bing's suggested sites toolbar. After about two weeks they discovered that the program was returning the same search results, despite the fact that they were rigged to appear only on Google's site.

"The only reason these pages appeared on Google was because Google forced them to be there," industry expert Danny Sullivan explained on the website SearchEngineLand.com. "There was nothing that made them naturally relevant for these searches. If they started to appear on Bing after Google, that would mean that Bing took Google's bait and copied its results."

Some Google executives were expectedly angered by the findings, including Amit Singhal, an employee who oversees the search engine's algorithm. Singhal dismissed Bing's operation as copying rather than innovation.

Despite the seemingly overwhelming evidence, Bing was quick to deny the allegations of stealing Google's results. Bing corporate vice president Harry Shum wrote a blog post dismissing the tactics used by Google as "spy novelesque" and said that it distorted the way they do business. He added that Bing uses more than 1,000 signals to generate search results, and uses a small portion of data submitted by customers. 

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