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Google Sting Exposes "Copying" by Bing

 3:16 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google has run a sting operation that it says proves Bing has been watching what people search for on Google, the sites they select from Google’s results, then uses that information to improve Bing’s own search listings. Bing doesn’t deny this.

As a result of the apparent monitoring, Bing’s relevancy is potentially improving (or getting worse) on the back of Google’s own work. Google likens it to the digital equivalent of Bing leaning over during an exam and copying off of Google’s test. [searchengineland.com...]



 3:31 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Amazing article, thanks for sharing!

I am not definitely not impressed by Bing's willingness to blindly follow what Google serves up as results, and what is worse Google is in a position and has been able to "trick" Bing into serving up completely invalid search results.

How is anyone to consider Bing an alternative to Google if they are just going to simply mirror what Google does?


 3:32 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Revealing this doesn't make Bing look bad. It makes Google look infantile.

It's not lost on me that while Google's complaining about Bing monitoring them, they openly admit to monitoring Bing so that they change their own results. That's part of the reason this is so ridiculous.

Seems like a poorly crafted viral campaign if you ask me.

brotherhood of LAN

 3:36 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I remember G had a similar approach a few years back where DMOZ listings were thought to be a large boost for pages & sites. 'Innovative'...maybe.

It makes sense for Bing to monitor user browser behaviour. Apparently Google are interested and use the very same metrics. Their toolbar is used to discover 'new' pages, Google scrapes the likes of Twitter and other 'special case' data such as news and blogs. Google's dictionary is made from words written by other people.

Well played Bing.


 4:10 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

To me it makes Bing look incompetent for not being able to generate their own search results and in stead having to rely on a competitor.


 4:23 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

These wacky search engines. What'll they do next.


 4:24 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

@wheel yep it's a teddy out of pram situation Google should have jus taken it like a grown up


 4:34 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I agree. I think Google are angry because just buying M$ is not an option.

travelin cat

 4:36 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

taken it like a grown up

Not sure about you, but if one of my competitors took all of the hard work that I have put in to my site and essentially copied the results without doing any of the work, and I had inescapable evidence of this, I would do the same thing that Google did.


 4:52 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

@travelin cat

yeh ever worked for the dominant player in an industry? some times you have to bite your lip and play the longer political game.

Back in the day we had a peach of an opertunity to get into the online video market we had the opportunity, the staff and I had tapped up a mate in the BBC to work out what kit we would need. I even had Rank ring me up to try and get BT to help do the first webcast of the starwars episode one red carpet premiere in leciester square.

but a few remarks made by Gordon brown caused the share price to tank and that was the end of that.


 5:01 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think it's perfectly fine for Bing to monitor Google's results. I'm sure Google also watches what Bing is doing, and there have been several instances of changes at Google that seem to be in response to Bing, documented here at WebmasterWorld.

Google has no room to complain about monitoring others' activities on the Internet, they are the worst offender.

Instead of playing games trying to catch a competitor doing something, Google really should spend their time and efforts improving their search results. I still see a lot of junk directory sites in the Google SERPs, with snippets linking to other sites. Hey Google: here's an idea...why not just show the SITES listed in that directory, after all they are the sites with the original content the searcher is looking for.

If I wanted a directory of sites on a subject, I'd just go to a search engine and type in the topic I was looking for...oh, wait a minute...


 5:16 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

This is great. I always said Bing was scraping G when they first came out. The results were too similar. How could Bing create a search engine from scratch that matched G's results so closely?

Now we know! They are scraping it! Shall we now refer to Bing as Scrapbing?

Ahh Bing... always the bridesmaid, never the bride.


 5:17 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think this is funny.

It's the Three Stooges of Search.


 5:25 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

So all that is being proven here is that Bing appears to be monitoring user behaviour and using that data in their results.

That sounds like a good reason to go get me a BingBar installed!


 5:29 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

...so is it now officially proven that Google can game the serps if they please?


 5:49 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

One thing that Google knows is that popular perception can be more powerful than facts. The article doesn't even prove that Bing copies search results. It just proved that Bing uses click data from their toolbar to improve their search results. If you were a search engine company with a toolbar it would be stupid not to. And I'm pretty sure all search engines do this.

According to the article, Google manually changed results for search terms like mbzrxpgjys, where Bing had no results. Then they had about 20 engineers using IE with the Bing Toolbar and Suggested Sites enabled go search for these terms in Google and click the top result. About two weeks later the same sites clicked showed up in Bing results as the one and only result. And this only happened about 7-9 times out of 100.


 5:57 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think this is funny.

It's the Three Stooges of Search.

Somebody PLEASE do a cartoon. That's just to perfect :).


 6:13 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I want to copy Google and make Billions tooooo! If Bing can do it, anyone can.


 6:14 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just for the record, in the primary area in which my major clients are interested in SEO, Yahoo and Google show different results.

Thankfully, most of my sites could not care less about SEO.


 6:16 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think we need to understand the data in more detail. If, for example, Bing simply duplicated the top 5 results, that would be clearly copying. But if, say, the Bing toolbar users clicked mainly on result #3 and #7, those should show up as higher choices on Bing based on their behavioral tracking.

Of course, even if Bing was based purely on click behavior, their results would likely be similar to Google's - user clicks will tend to follow the order of results, and Google's ordering of results may take into account clicks and post-click behavior.


 6:39 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

If someone is "cheating", doesn't there first need to be a set of rules. Those rules don't exist, so it's not cheating. It's also completely legal, and I don't even see it as being that unethical. Bing is using information it has access to in order to establish relevancy... What's the difference between this and Google using Yelp reviews to rank a business, or Social mentions, or backlinks, or Yellowpage listings. They can dish it out, but they can't take it, bunch of crybabies.


 6:40 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I will say that it serves as bad PR for Bing, although I doubt the layman reads SEL, or cares for that matter.


 7:14 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

The bigger question is whether this helps bing derive a better search engine algorithm? If it does bing need no longer depend on copying from Google. If it doesn't then it just increases Bing's dependency on Google's results.

As far as whether its right or wrong it must sting for Google but most netizens won't care. Everyone learns by copying others. Fact of life.

Regardless its inevitable that one day someone will usurp Google as the king of search. Its bound to happen and when it does it will happen very quickly as these things always do on the Internet.


 7:22 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Search is Google's sacred cow. They won't take it lightly, nor should they.


 7:43 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Bing has been watching what people search for on Google, the sites they select from Google’s results...
As a result of the apparent monitoring, Bing’s relevancy is potentially improving (or getting worse) on the back of Google’s own work.

Google's own work ?
It's rather their users work. They decide what to search for and which result to choose. Bing (probably) does it on other search engines too.

travelin cat

 7:52 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

TechCrunch has an interesting story from the “Who Will Win the Spam Wars” roundtable at the BigThink conference:


[edited by: travelin_cat at 8:40 pm (utc) on Feb 1, 2011]


 7:59 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just another part of Google's ingenious marketing strategy: They appeal to all of us to lift them up as some kind of moral entity and gain our allegiance. GOOG is just pointing out Bing as the witch and we're all supposed to turn on her.


 8:02 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

the Bing toolbar users clicked mainly on result #3 and #7, those should show up as higher choices on Bing based on their behavioral tracking

I totally disagree that they should show up as higher choices.

Under your example lets say that people click #3 (wikipedia) & #7 (yelp).. .but lets say Google isn't doing the best job in returning the most relevant results and there is a much better search result on page 20... how would that result ever get pushed up by Bing if all they do is mimic google and see what people clicked on page 1 of google and push that up?

The point is to return results relevant to the search term. How can they do that if they trust that Google got the 10 most relevant results per page?

A competitor is supposed to offer a competing product not a clone. If I wanted Google search results I would search from Google. I am hoping for something different from Bing.


 8:56 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have noticed this for a several weeks now. Google changes a lot of my meta title and descriptions for their SERPs. In other words they create their own meta details for my pages.

Bing has been showing the same exact meta details in their SERPs and ranking me in the same position as Google


 11:21 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google will use any method and type of tracking they can to track users, impressions, clicks, site usage, bounce rate, time on page, on-site navigation path and many other things. They can see where people have come from - even from SERPs of other search engines.

Now they complain when a competitor uses similar data. I'm bored with Google and I'm not impressed with their search results. I am repulsed by the arrogance of their system serving results for a different query than what I typed, and telling me to click a link if I actually want to see what I originally asked for. They have lost the battle with spam. They are not proactive in removing sites for scams and fakes from their results, and they are generally losing the plot more and more as time goes on.

It remains to be seen if the recent shuffle of jobs right at the top will lead to a better Google in the future, or whether they disappear off into lala land at an even greater pace...

This 95 message thread spans 4 pages: 95 ( [1] 2 3 4 > >
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