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Microsoft's Bing Caught Copying Google Search Results

Discussion in 'Tech Talk - Gadgets, Gizmos and Technology' started by brant, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. Feb 1, 2011 #1 of 20
    brant

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    Uh oh!


    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/02/01/microsofts-bing-caught-copying-google-search-results/


     
  2. Feb 1, 2011 #2 of 20
    Marlin Guy

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    Bing is a "decision engine".
    Who can blame it for deciding to use Google for the most accurate and reliable search results? :lol:
     
  3. Feb 2, 2011 #3 of 20
    jadebox

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    Microsoft's using their toolbar to record the sites people using the toolbar most often visit.

    Many (most?) of the users will do searches using Google. So, of course, sites that rank higher in Google will be the sites that the people visit the most and, therefore, that rank higher in Bing.

    Google is, BTW, doing exactly the same thing with their toolbar - tracking the sites that users visit and using the data to rank results.

    The "sting" Google created was to install Bing's toolbar then do searches on Google for phrases no one else had ever or would ever enter. So, the only data Bing had to use to provide a result was the information collected by the toolbar used by the Google employees. So, of course, it only listed sites they had clicked on in response to the query.

    And ... the example at the top of the linked article is silly. It's not surprising that Wikipedia's article is listed first on both sites - even for the misspelled search phrase. Besides being one of the most popular sites on the web, search engine companies like Wikipedia because it doesn't have ads. People tend to read the article then "bounce" back to the search engine's site - which does have ads.

    -- Roger
     
  4. Feb 2, 2011 #4 of 20
    bobukcat

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    :icon_lol:!rolling:uglyhamme:righton:
     
  5. Feb 2, 2011 #5 of 20
    Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    All I can say is Oh, Dear.
     
  6. Feb 2, 2011 #6 of 20
    bobukcat

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    I think you missed the part where they installed "honeypot" results for ridiculous search terms like prbgeightel and found that Bing returned the Honeypot results. To me this suggests that not only is Bing leveraging the Google results but their algorithm is not nearly as different as they would like you to believe. After all, if you get the same results what reason is there for Bing to even exist?
     
  7. Feb 3, 2011 #7 of 20
    jadebox

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    Uhh, that's exactly what I was explaining. :)

    I'll try again. The people at Google installed the Bing toolbar. Then they did searches at Google for those odd search terms - terms no one else was searching for. They clicked on the Google results.

    Bing's toolbar recorded people visiting sites with the phrase "prbgeightel" in them. So those sites are what Bing returned as the results when it was used to search for that odd phrase.

    Google's toolbar works the same and, if Microsoft pulled a similar "sting," they would be able to show that Google copies their results!

    -- Roger
     
  8. Feb 3, 2011 #8 of 20
    bobukcat

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    Actually Google is very vocal that their Toolbar and Chrome browsers do no such thing as what MS appears to be doing with the Bing Toolbar and "Suggested Sites" in IE.

    If you read the full source article the reason Google even started this was because they saw that Bing was suddenly returning an unusually similar Top 10 results that a Google search would. To me this means that there is little or no reason to use Bing if it's just going to give me the same results as Google, which I've used for years and years and Google has vastly superior spelling correction capability to compensate for my hastily mistyped queries.
     
  9. Feb 3, 2011 #9 of 20
    HDJulie

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    I use Yahoo to search. How come I'm the only one that does that?
     
  10. bobukcat

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    You're a rebel???? ;)
     
  11. jadebox

    jadebox Godfather

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    The toolbars track things like which site a user visits and how long they view specific pages, etc. They do basically the same thing. A similar "sting" would have caught Google in the same trap.

    Most of the time it makes sense that the same sites would be returned. Someone searching for "Delta Airlines" expects to see sites about Delta. And, Google itself skews the results by making the sites it lists on the first page of results more popular.

    Bing wasn't designed to return bad results just to be different than Google. :)

    I tried Bing and didn't see any reason to switch to it, either.

    Microsoft is in a tough spot trying to compete with Google. Google returns good results. If Bing wanted to differentiate themselves by returning bad results, that obviously wouldn't wouldn't work.

    What Bing does, to try to be different, is to include more up-to-date information specific to the result.

    For example, if you search for "Delta Flight 622" Bing adds specific, up-to-date info about that flight to the results.

    Of course, Google had similar functionality (for example preforming a lookup of a UPS tracking number) before Bing was around. And, they were quick to match the stuff Bing added (such as info about airline flights).

    One thing I did find nicer about Bing, though, is that it actually searches for what you enter rather than what it thinks you should have entered. For example, search for "CSI:NY Tohn" at Google and you get results for "CSI:NY John." For this specific query, Bing returns better results - assuming you really were looking for info on the CSI:NY episode with Jackie Tohn.

    -- Roger
     
  12. SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

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    Speaking of search engines, whatever happened to whatever it was that was developed by the group formerly from Google that was supposed to revolutionize search engines?
     
  13. jadebox

    jadebox Godfather

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    Cuil? (I think it was named by the same people who came up with "SyFy.")

    It disappeared last September.

    The new kid on the block is Blekko (http://blekko.com/). It seems to return random results at the top of the page then it displays a copy of Bing's results. Enter the "CSI:NY Tohn" example query I used above (without the quotes) and the top few listings are random stuff. Then, under "Additional Web Results" is a list of results closely matching Bing's.

    -- Roger
     
  14. bobukcat

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    According to Google you are absolutely wrong about their toolbar and browser, I don't have the resources to test it but Microsoft isn't denying it. According to Google they rely strictly on "page rank" of the URL. It's a complex algorithm that changes but I believe the underlying thing is how many other pages have a link to that same URL.
     
  15. SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

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    And you believe them?
     
  16. bobukcat

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    Yes.
     
  17. jadebox

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    According to Google, if you enable the "Page Rank" feature in the toolbar, then they collect usage data.

    Google also gathers aggregate data on the sites people visit using Adsense ads and Google Analytics - and they sometimes track clicks from the search results page. They no longer rely just on links to calculate the "Page Rank." It would be too easy for a website to "cheat" using "link farms" and other nefarious techniques to get a high ranking if they depended only on links to a site.

    In any case, it doesn't really matter. Google claims that Bing is copying their search results, but the "sting" they used doesn't prove that. All it proved is that Microsoft uses its toolbar to collect information.

    -- Roger
     
  18. SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

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    And yet people continue to use toolbars.
     
  19. bobukcat

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    They may collect usage data but they have clearly stated that those results do not influence search results, which still means that if MS were to replicate the tests using a Google toolbar and searches in Bing the results from Bing would not then become results in a Google search.
     
  20. jadebox

    jadebox Godfather

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    Google said that the toolbar is not used to "put any results on Google's results page." They did not say that it's not used to rank sites or determine site results.

    The distinction is important to Google because there are many private URLs used by administrators and developers that shouldn't be public and people have accused the toolbar of adding those URLs to Google. Google doesn't want people to think that using the toolbar would automatically add those URLs to Google's index.

    Google's privacy notice for the toolbar and their general privacy notice state that data collected by the toolbar may be used to "enhance other Google services." As Matt Cutts of Google said in 2002, "It's my personal, unofficial belief that using toolbar data in the future to augment our crawl is not only a good idea, but specifically allowed by the original policies we posted."

    Nevertheless, as I said before, it's not relevant to the topic of whether or not Bing is copying Google results. As the "CSI:NY Tohn" example query illustrates, the two sites often return very different results.

    -- Roger
     

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