Los Angeles – Google (NASD:  GOOG) has alleged that Microsoft’s (NASD:  MSFT) Bing is
"copying" its search results, following a sting operation of sorts
that saw Google create bogus search terms and tie them to unrelated search
results — which shortly thereafter appeared on Bing.

For example, Google
engineered the term "hiybbprqag" to return the seating chart for the
Wiltern theater in Los Angeles.

It then had employees search the term via
Google, while using Internet Explorer with "Suggested Sites" and the
Bing Toolbar enabled.

Two weeks later, the term — which previously returned no
results via Bing — was returning the same result for the Wiltern seating chart
that Google had set up.

"I’ve got no problem with a competitor developing
an innovative algorithm. But copying is not innovation, in my book," Google
Fellow and search expert Amit Singhal told Search Engine Land.

"It’s cheating
to me because we work incredibly hard and have done so for years but they just
get there based on our hard work."

For its part, Microsoft has denied
copying Google’s search results.

"What we saw in today’s story was a
spy-novelesque stunt to generate extreme outliers in tail query ranking," Bing
corporate vice president Harry Shum wrote on the Bing blog.

"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."


(image via Search Engine Land)

Related Links:

(Search Engine Land)
(Bing blog)