Google had a bit of a PR stunt this week accusing Bing of copying Google search results, with claims they had used a “honeypot” to catch Microsoft “cheating”. Personally I would have preferred Google spent more time making Honeycomb then Honeypots, but anyway…what about these allegation?
First I did some random tests. I searched my name. The first few results are similar, but after that they differ significantly. So really no sign of copying. In addition Bing returns many more results…67,300 vs google’s 39,400. So pretty much that alone is evidence Bing is not copying Google search results, because if they were copying they would have the same # or less results then Google, not more. Google results are less partly because they do have a better spam filter than Bing right now. You can see in Bing just 7/8 results down there are some “Spam” fake webs that have nothing to do with my name, whereas in Google on the first page of results these do not exist.
My 2nd test I searched the country town I live in
Again we se see some similar results in the top positions, but after that it is significantly different. This time Google returns 560,000 results, and Bing only 41,700 results.
OK so what about Google’s honey pot?
Well here are my thoughts:
- Only 9 of 100 “honeypot” tests showed evidence of “copying”
- These 9 examples showed similar results (not exactly the same)
- These results (As explained by Microsoft) would have been caused by clickstream data from customers who had opted in to send this data. This data does not collect & copy Google’s search results, rather it looks at what the user “click’s through” on based on a specific search term. So even if Google ranked something as #1 but user’s clicked the 5th result all the time, that could lead to a higher ranking in Bing.
What are the real reasons for the allegations? Personally I think Google knows Microsoft is not copying any Google Algorithms, nor is it extracting the exact search result & order as provided by Google. This is purely a PR stunt to try and make Microsoft look bad in the hope to gain back market share. Bing is rapidly improving and Google is concerned. Previous to Bing Google has not seen any serious competition in the search space (at least in recent times) After only just over 1 year Bing has already captured almost 25% of U.S. searches, and has started eating away at Google’s massive lead.
My final thoughts on Bing
Bing has beautiful daily photos, worth visiting the site daily to see them. The video search in Bing is much better than Google. Search results are generally very good, but it does have some weak spots. The major issue I have with Bing is much of it’s best functionality/features are US only, and hope one day we may see fuller functionality from the international versions of Bing.