“This whole thing is a little silly.” That summary was stated by Gord Hotchkiss, senior vice president at digital marketing provider Mediative, regarding Google’s claims that Microsoft search engine, Bing of stealing their search results from Google. Google insisted earlier this week that Bing’s tactics through a “sting operation” conducted at the end of last year.
The leading U.S internet company published their findings from that operation at the Microsoft based event, called “Farsight 2011: Beyond the Search Box,” on Tuesday; suggesting that Bing collects user click data through the Bing toolbar and “Suggested Sites” tool in Internet Explorer. Furthermore, Google engineers set up dummy search results with nonsense words, which Bing allegedly duplicated. According to Hotchkiss, it was inappropriate for Google to do so. I felt that was inappropriate. It wasn’t aligned to the topic of the summit. It was irrelevant to what the content should have been. It seemed to have been done only to stir controversy.” The war of words between the two internet companies eventually reached Twitter, where Microsoft communication head, Frank Shaw launched a crafty defense posting, “Don’t be fooled. Google wants to change subject because they’re under investigation in the US and Europe for manipulating search results.”
According to tech analysts, it would be impossible for Microsoft as a basis for reverse-engineering Google’s secret search algorithms and that they have no interest in copying Google’s setup. Though Google plans no legal action towards Microsoft, they are insisting Bing stops this so-called practice.
Hotchkiss feels they are making much ado about nothing. “It seems like making a big deal out of something that isn’t that big a deal. This isn’t the secret sauce of Google’s algorithm, it’s a minor signal,” whilst adding “It doesn’t amount to anything important.”
Additionally, Bruce Clay, president of his self-titled internet marketing Optimization Company sees nothing wrong with Bing’s methods. “Sniffing Web traffic is not uncommon in the analysis space, and watching user behavior is smart business,” he stated via e-mail. He also implied, “This is not like Bing has stolen an algorithm. It is more like seeing a line at a competitor store and going in to see what is going on — you are not stealing secrets, just paying attention.”
Like the NFL, it seems the search game is a copycat league, but then again if it works and there’s no intention involved, it’s a non-issue.