Like any major corporation, Microsoft has garnered some negative attention over the years. But now, it looks like Google caught the company using Google’* search results in Microsoft’* Bing search engine.
The process by which Google discovered this practice is somewhat extensive. At first, Google noticed Bing returning identical results for misspelled words like “torsoraphy,” a medical procedure, which is actually spelled “tarsorrhaphy.” Originally, Bing had no results for the misspelling, but Google did. Later, results for the misspelled “torsoraphy” began appearing on Bing’* searches.
In the coming months, Google noticed more and more of its results appearing on Bing with the same rankings. “Even search results that we would consider mistakes of our algorithms started showing up on Bing,” writes Google’* Amit Singhal on Google’* blog.
To further confirm Microsoft’* underhanded practice, Google set up a sting of sorts. They created “synthetic queries,” basically made-up search words that regular users would never type (e.g. “hiybbprqag”). Then, Google inserted a random site as a search result for “hiybbprqaq.” As Singhal puts it, “there was absolutely no reason for any search engine to return that webpage for that synthetic query. You can think of the synthetic queries with inserted results as the search engine equivalent of marked bills in a bank.”
Google then chose 20 engineers and configured their laptops with Internet Explorer 8 and the Bing toolbar using the default settings. Before long, Bing’* results for “hiybbprqaq” returned the identical site as the Google synthetic query.
But Google wasn’t done yet. They used the phrase “delhipublicschool40 chdjob” and inserted a random result for a credit union. Of course, that same credit union then appeared on Bing searches for “delhipublicschool40 chdjob.”
Singhal writes, “Put another way, some Bing results increasingly look like an incomplete, stale version of Google results—a cheap imitation.”
As far as Google’* intentions for revealing Microsoft’* unprincipled act, Singhal says “the answer is simple: we’d like for this practice to stop.”