Bing: Setting the record straight

In a blog post Yusuf Mehdi, Senior Vice President of the Online Services Division wants to set the record straight between Bing and Google. During Farsight 2011, an event sponsored by Bing, Google questioned Microsoft on their recent search success and then went on to say that Bing has been copying Google's search results.

So in an effort to set the record straight Yusuf said with complete conviction:

We do not copy results from any of our competitors. Period. Full stop. We have some of the best minds in the world at work on search quality and relevance, and for a competitor to accuse any one of these people of such activity is just insulting.

He went on to say that Google set the whole thing up ahead of time by manipulating Bing's search results,

Google’s “experiment” was rigged to manipulate Bing search results through a type of attack also known as “click fraud.”

Bing uses anonymous click data as one of the ways to help improve their search results and according to Yusuf, Google took advantage of this feature to trick Bing's search index.

Yusuf goes on to point out that Google has taken a few ideas from Bing, back in June the Google homepage looked almost identical to Bing's when they briefly added images to the background. But according to the post Microsoft doesn't mind when others copy them, they want to help bring and build on great ideas in the industry.

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my dad has bing set as his homepage cos he likes the pretty picture every day and the snippets of info on them. if he wants to search he uses the search box built into his browser which uses google.
lol

SubZenit said,
+1 to your dad, lol - but tell him that there is also iGoogle wich gives him pretty much the same...

Yeah, didn't bing come first? owait, google don't copy. nvm.

C_Guy said,
Yet again Microsoft isn't the bad guy.

It sure is nice to see other people starting to get it.

You'd sleep with a homeless guy is Microsoft told you to. You guys believe anything they say.

Nothing will make me switch from Google to Bing. I love Google search, its functions and its accuracy.

rwx said,
Nothing will make me switch from Google to Bing. I love Google search, its functions and its accuracy.

True!
...but especially when a company such as M$ is behind it.

If you look two rows below the numbers on your keyboard you might just find the 'S' key. Give it a try next time. You can also find that key under your left hand on what's known as "home row".

C_Guy said,
If you look two rows below the numbers on your keyboard you might just find the 'S' key. Give it a try next time. You can also find that key under your left hand on what's known as "home row".

Get it over it ;P

"Any publicity is good publicity". I've been using Google for over 20 years now and never thought for once about the relevance & quality of the search result until this week. If they can manipulate their search results to catch out a competitor trying to improve the search results, then it's time to ask questions. All they have shown now is that the can't be trusted - Having 20 engineers that should be working hard to sniff at Bing tells the whole story. How many Google engineers do you need to make a listings appear on page 1 of Google SERP?

AndrewsJay said,
"Any publicity is good publicity". I've been using Google for over 20 years now and never thought for once about the relevance & quality of the search result until this week. If they can manipulate their search results to catch out a competitor trying to improve the search results, then it's time to ask questions. All they have shown now is that the can't be trusted - Having 20 engineers that should be working hard to sniff at Bing tells the whole story. How many Google engineers do you need to make a listings appear on page 1 of Google SERP?

20 years you say? Can I borrow your time machine?

I wonder how many people hired by MS or Google are posting on a topic like this. Makes it really difficult to judge the relevance. But then again that just might be the overall goal.

So let me get this straight... Bing toolbar is recording what you do within NON-MICROSOFT websites?

I can't believe the number of people that are jumping on the Microsoft bandwagon here. Google's search results should be irrelevant to Bing.

brianshapiro said,
With every website, but its sent anonymously.

Every website, you say? So if someone enters their name and social security number when doing their taxes online, Bing toolbar *may* receive it "anonymously"?

It seems to me that pulling activity that users do WITHIN other websites only makes this matter more serious. Are any Google programs doing this also?

Chugworth said,

Every website, you say? So if someone enters their name and social security number when doing their taxes online, Bing toolbar *may* receive it "anonymously"?

It seems to me that pulling activity that users do WITHIN other websites only makes this matter more serious. Are any Google programs doing this also?


It's click stream data. It's not pulling activity that users do WITHIN other websites. All it records is that somebody (you) visited it. There is no need to look at the actual content of the site.

Edit: Unless you Google your social security number. Then they will get it, but so will Google and anyone using a packet sniffer.

Chugworth said,

Every website, you say? So if someone enters their name and social security number when doing their taxes online, Bing toolbar *may* receive it "anonymously"?

It seems to me that pulling activity that users do WITHIN other websites only makes this matter more serious. Are any Google programs doing this also?

Both Microsoft and Google publish their own browsers. They could design their respective browsers to harvest personal information if they wanted to. You're already implicitly trusting them not to do that by using their browser. The same level of trust goes into any toolbar add-in published by either of these companies. Also, the ClickStream statistics being tracked by the Bing toolbar is opt-in. If you don't want to be tracked, then turn it off. It's as simple as that.

Chugworth said,

Every website, you say? So if someone enters their name and social security number when doing their taxes online, Bing toolbar *may* receive it "anonymously"?

It seems to me that pulling activity that users do WITHIN other websites only makes this matter more serious. Are any Google programs doing this also?

Um, you are really stretching here... For Bing to do this, your Name and SSN would have to be in a Link you clicked, which would mean you are doing something really stupid or a web site is really stupid to put your information in the URL.

As for Google... Wow, where have you been? Google tracks not just associated sites and links clicked, Google tracks YOU and all your activity on the Web.

For example, any site that has a Google Ad on it, is watching that you are viewing the page and reporting it back to Google, even if you don't click on the Google Ad.

Google's toolbar is doing exactly what Bing's bar is doing, but several other things that all are collected and attached to data that is associated with YOU PERSONALLY.

Google gets worse if you use Gmail or any of their online documents or web site, as all the information is 'data mined' and tracked, so if your grandma is emailing you about her Toyota not running right, this information is again attached to YOU, and you can see this, as the Google Ads on websites will start showing you ads for Toyota.

When Microsoft designed IE7, they put in place filters that stripped ad tracking tricks that nefarious companies used to track people, and Google was one company that uses them, STILL.

How on earth you think Microsoft collecting anonymous associations between a page and a link the person clicked is evil or bad? This is how computers learn human activity and it does help give better search results as it tracks what is 'related' and 'relevant' to more people.

I'm also amazed that you have so little concept of what Google does in contrast that you assume they are doing nothing. Google has been using really dirty and personally invasive tracking techniques for years and years, even to the point of reading your email and every document you saved on the Google Docs site.

There are tons of tricks and things Google uses and tracks about you on the internet even if you never go to google.com and only visit a web site that has an Ad hosted by Google.

This is why the Bush administration wanted Google's data, as it was PERSONALLY linked to individuals and substantial.

(PS Just to be clear about this, Microsoft DOES NOT read hotmail/live and can't even access your online SkyDrive locations as they are key encrypted to your account that is not human accessible.)

thenetavenger said,

Um, you are really stretching here... For Bing to do this, your Name and SSN would have to be in a Link you clicked, which would mean you are doing something really stupid or a web site is really stupid to put your information in the URL............................


Just asking, so Google collects your data for?

tanjiajun_34 said,

Just asking, so Google collects your data for?
Giving you more relevant ads that you will most certainly click. It's called behavioral advertising. Look it up.

i saw the press release from Microsoft.. and they basically admitted it and wondered why google wasn't doing the same to them.

rippleman said,
i saw the press release from Microsoft.. and they basically admitted it and wondered why google wasn't doing the same to them.

I guess English comprehension isn't a forte of yours.

Riva said,
First the HTML5 video tag and now this. Google seem to be after publicity

It will go both ways, Bing will get the same publicity as Google's.
For the Video Tag, IE9 will get the same publicity as Chrome's.

Wow, just reading some of the comments on that blog post.... what a ridiculous amount of trolls bashing about. Literally about 90% of the comments I read were about people just saying "W/E, don't care to read your totally logical explanation about Google's extremely flawed investigatory techniques, you must have copied then D:".

Of course if one believed in crazy conspiracy theories, one could also look at this as Google probing into deliberately sabotaging Bing's search results, if they wanted too

~Johnny said,
Wow, just reading some of the comments on that blog post.... what a ridiculous amount of trolls bashing about. Literally about 90% of the comments I read were about people just saying "W/E, don't care to read your totally logical explanation about Google's extremely flawed investigatory techniques, you must have copied then D:".

I think part of the problem might be that the concept of 'clickstream data' wasn't defined in the post, so people are treating it as technobabble designed to throw people off.

To any commenters here that are unsure of the term: Basically, the Bing toolbar analyses what people click on on most pages on the web. As part of this, they use search terms to determine what people click on when they search for stuff. So if everyone using the Bing toolbar clicks on the third or fifth or ninth result, that result will gain rank in Bing. Simple, once you know what is meant.

~Johnny said,
Wow, just reading some of the comments on that blog post.... what a ridiculous amount of trolls bashing about. Literally about 90% of the comments I read were about people just saying "W/E, don't care to read your totally logical explanation about Google's extremely flawed investigatory techniques, you must have copied then D:".

Of course if one believed in crazy conspiracy theories, one could also look at this as Google probing into deliberately sabotaging Bing's search results, if they wanted too

People are always loyal to a brand. And don't forget that it's hip to hate on Microsoft.

~Johnny said,
Wow, just reading some of the comments on that blog post.... what a ridiculous amount of trolls bashing about.

The trolls there appear to be well organised. I wouldn't be surprised if some of those identities are a group effort.

Please Microsoft is not that low and dirty of a company to pull such a stunt and Google just wants to roadblock the good succsess of Bing and there is a faulty of Google's Part. Of stating claims of copying search results, Bing has just as good of results as Google if not better in some cases by displaying results visually, not text wise. Stunts like this only make Google look like more a shady company. Quality has been lost in Google.

Xypro said,
Please Microsoft is not that low and dirty of a company to pull such a stunt and Google just wants to roadblock the good succsess of Bing and there is a faulty of Google's Part. Of stating claims of copying search results, Bing has just as good of results as Google if not better in some cases by displaying results visually, not text wise. Stunts like this only make Google look like more a shady company. Quality has been lost in Google.

And Google can manually manipulate search rankings at will. So sneaky and evil.

sexypeperodri said,
Oh yeah, because putting a background image in the homepage is equal to ripping search results. Drop the act Microsoft.

You're right. Good thing Microsoft didn't rip search results.

rfirth said,

You're right. Good thing Microsoft didn't rip search results.

Yeah its not like Google didn't rip the idea of a search engine from those that came before them. How about the idea that Google ripped the idea of a browser, or the idea of an office suite or the idea of email, cloud storage, smartphone, app store and the list goes on.

Yeah Google is completely original!

sexypeperodri said,
Oh yeah, because putting a background image in the homepage is equal to ripping search results. Drop the act Microsoft.

Get over it, Google is crying, it's feeling the competition from Bing.
Google PR Stunts are so sneaky!

thenonhacker said,

Don't forget, Eric Schmidt admitted that Bing is a worthy rival!
It's Not wise for Google to ignore Bing.

I mean, Google didn't give a damn about Ask.com, so it should really be very insecure of Bing.
Cry Google, Cry.

Ignoring Bing would be stupid.....you always keep a eye on the competition.
But until Bing hit's 10%+ I doubt Google or anyone will take them seriously.

Ask.com lol who's that and how much of the market do they control ? fail

Baked said,

Ignoring Bing would be stupid.....you always keep a eye on the competition.
But until Bing hit's 10%+ I doubt Google or anyone will take them seriously.

Ask.com lol who's that and how much of the market do they control ? fail

Bing already has 12% market share, and that's not counting Yahoo's searches.

NPGMBR said,

Yeah its not like Google didn't rip the idea of a search engine from those that came before them. How about the idea that Google ripped the idea of a browser, or the idea of an office suite or the idea of email, cloud storage, smartphone, app store and the list goes on.

Yeah Google is completely original!

+1

rfirth said,

You're right. Good thing Microsoft didn't rip search results.

We cannot tell for sure. Just because a blog post by MICROSOFT themselves saying they did not rip result from google does not means the true? Some more the source is unreliable too.
However, that does not means it is false. I am just saying so far there isn't any proof so lets just keep quiet.

bj55555 said,

Bing already has 12% market share, and that's not counting Yahoo's searches.


Weird. This source say Bing is just 3.XX%?
http://marketshare.hitslink.co...e-market-share.aspx?qprid=4

Oh seriously....MS no one believes you.....you've been trying to catch up to google for ages and its more likely that you are cheating to improve your results.

Baked said,
Oh seriously....MS no one believes you.....you've been trying to catch up to google for ages and its more likely that you are cheating to improve your results.

Are you really that baked that you think that? Read the articles and blog posts on the net and it seems like Google are trying to set up Bing and it's more of a PR stunt (i.e. http://teusje.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/google-bing/).

The thread I opened on this (http://www.neowin.net/forum/to...g-sets-the-record-straight/) has many people with the same opinion.

Best quote I have

'rfirth' said,

20 Google engineers opted in to an anonymous customer feedback program in Bing Bar. The Google engineers then proceeded to search for the honeypot using the nonsense keyword. When the search results appeared, they clicked on the link/honeypot. They did this over and over.

Microsoft was flooded with messages of the form:
"A user searched for saldjkfaldkfalaldkf and eventually clicked on the link ABC.COM"

So, what did Microsoft/Bing do? They figured out (using statistical machine learning algorithms) that for the search saldjkfaldkfalaldkf, users wanted ABC.COM.

It's as simple as that.

Baked said,
Oh seriously....MS no one believes you.....you've been trying to catch up to google for ages and its more likely that you are cheating to improve your results.

This is hillarious because I distinctly remember Google bitching because Facebook would not allow Google access to its info. Google wants to have it both ways and it shows how immature they are.

NPGMBR said,

This is hillarious because I distinctly remember Google bitching because Facebook would not allow Google access to its info. Google wants to have it both ways and it shows how immature they are.

Yes this part I agree with....but on the other hand if FB won't allow google access to its data why should they allow MS ?

Can't MS work or search ratings without Googles help ? lol

dave164 said,

Are you really that baked that you think that? Read the articles and blog posts on the net and it seems like Google are trying to set up Bing and it's more of a PR stunt (i.e. http://teusje.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/google-bing/).

If you seriously only think Google does this to its competitors then your the one who's baked.....MS and most big corps have played these games over and over for years.

At least google admitted it was feeding MS false results lol Most companies including Ms would just deny it until someone could prove otherwise.

The thread I opened on this (http://www.neowin.net/forum/to...g-sets-the-record-straight/) has many people with the same opinion.

Best quote I have

Brody McKee said,
Actually, most people believe Microsoft. Google practically falsified evidence to hurt Microsoft's image.

Yep but if MS wasn't doing what it was doing...there wouldn't be a issue would it.
MS are so desperate to gain market share/ advertising ground they will do anything.

As for copying stuff have you seen Bing's top nav bar ? looks identical to googles and don't tell me they had it first.

Baked said,

Yep but if MS wasn't doing what it was doing...there wouldn't be a issue would it.
MS are so desperate to gain market share/ advertising ground they will do anything.

As for copying stuff have you seen Bing's top nav bar ? looks identical to googles and don't tell me they had it first.

have you seen Googles new laptops.. they look exactly like a windows laptop!??!.. lol who cares. they are both offering free services.

Lachlan said,

have you seen Googles new laptops.. they look exactly like a windows laptop!??!.. lol who cares. they are both offering free services.

Look exactly the same...but Google's will cost a hundred or even 200-300 less than Windows Netbooks cause Google doesn't charge ridiculous licence fees.

Baked said,

Look exactly the same...but Google's will cost a hundred or even 200-300 less than Windows Netbooks cause Google doesn't charge ridiculous licence fees.

Windows licensing fees to OEMs aren't ridiculous really, they fall inline with many other licensing costs, at best something like Windows Home Premium costs an OEM $50 a install tops. Don't think retail prices or retail OEM prices are the same as what someone like HP or Dell pay.

Lachlan said,
have you seen Googles new laptops.. they look exactly like a windows laptop!??!.. lol who cares. they are both offering free services.
That is such a naive comment. Everything has a price and guess what is Google's price - your life and everything you do in it. If your life isn't that important to you, then you don't deserve your life anyway. Stay ignorant and classy!

Baked said,
Oh seriously....MS no one believes you.....

Don't bother, this is neowin, filled with MS fanboys, they prefer to believe whatever MS says

ViperAFK said,
I knew MS would not be so daft as to copy google's results. Google was pretty immature here IMO.

Are you sure? MS's explanation is that since they scrape the data from the result page in the user's browser, they are therefore not copying Google. Riiiiiiight.

HalcyonX12 said,

Are you sure? MS's explanation is that since they scrape the data from the result page in the user's browser, they are therefore not copying Google. Riiiiiiight.


No, Microsoft does not scrape the data from the result page. All they are looking at are the pages you visit. It is not necessary to look at the content of the pages or to scrape.

DonC said,
I think Yusuf sums it up very well.

Especially the part where Google copied LOTS from Bing:

- Bing Side Bar Filters
- Bing Large Background Image behind the search box
- Bing Image Search Infinite Scroll
- Neat Design
- Several Bing Maps features that later get copied into Google Maps
- Several Bing user interface principles that Google wouldn't have copied had Bing Not exist and compete with them.

Lastly, Nice to finally see Google cry.

thenonhacker said,

Especially the part where Google copied LOTS from Bing:

- Bing Side Bar Filters
- Bing Large Background Image behind the search box
- Bing Image Search Infinite Scroll
- Neat Design
- Several Bing Maps features that later get copied into Google Maps
- Several Bing user interface principles that Google wouldn't have copied had Bing Not exist and compete with them.

Lastly, Nice to finally see Google cry.

I see a Bing Fan here!

thenonhacker said,
Hell yeah. I was a loyal Google user, until when Google Buzz Scandal was news.
I was never a "fan". I was okay with using Google until
1. they started using my Location without my permission for giving me search results and without giving me an option to turn it Off.
2. they started forwarding me through a google.com link to the result I click on. They did not do this for *all* links until their site renovation.
3. they went against "net neutrality" in the deeper sense.
4. they started using my private data for their benefit to show me behavioral ads. All these things should be Opt-In and not Opt-Out. Hell, Google does not provide an Opt-Out.
5. they brought the stupid Instant Search which freezes even in their own Chrome browser.
6. they started using keyboard arrow keys and Enter key to open results. I have so many times opened wrong links because of this.
7. they started putting ads on top which look just like search results. Thanks to hosts file from http://www.mvps.org, I have never once successfully opened a stupid ad.

Jebadiah said,
I was never a "fan". I was okay with using Google until
1. they started using my Location without my permission for giving me search results and without giving me an option to turn it Off.
2. they started forwarding me through a google.com link to the result I click on. They did not do this for *all* links until their site renovation.
3. they went against "net neutrality" in the deeper sense.
4. they started using my private data for their benefit to show me behavioral ads. All these things should be Opt-In and not Opt-Out. Hell, Google does not provide an Opt-Out.
5. they brought the stupid Instant Search which freezes even in their own Chrome browser.
6. they started using keyboard arrow keys and Enter key to open results. I have so many times opened wrong links because of this.
7. they started putting ads on top which look just like search results. Thanks to hosts file from http://www.mvps.org, I have never once successfully opened a stupid ad.

1. Weird. On phone you can disallow sharing. Well no big deal to me. Sharing your info on fb is much worst.
2. No idea what you talking. Never had that problem.
5. never had that problem as well.
6. I thought you can choose to use a mouse?

tanjiajun_34 said,
6. I thought you can choose to use a mouse?

I was just about to ask this... the only complaint I have is the new arrow / enter browsing. Every web page on the planet, the down arrow scrolls the page down. TAB should be used to select results, if anything.

So, how do you set it back to mouse?

SkinAddict said,

I was just about to ask this... the only complaint I have is the new arrow / enter browsing. Every web page on the planet, the down arrow scrolls the page down. TAB should be used to select results, if anything.

So, how do you set it back to mouse?


Nonono. What I mean is I don't understand why will the arrows and enter key make him click the wrong link? His keyboard is spoil and randomly spam keystrokes? Well if not, he can just don't press anything and happily use a mouse?

tanjiajun_34 said,

Nonono. What I mean is I don't understand why will the arrows and enter key make him click the wrong link? His keyboard is spoil and randomly spam keystrokes? Well if not, he can just don't press anything and happily use a mouse?

I think what he means is that some people (like me) use cursor keys, space bar, shift + spacebar etc. for navigating web pages. It's much quicker and easier than using a mouse.

tanjiajun_34 said,

5. never had that problem as well.
Really? Your browser page has never frozen for seconds at a time? That is highly unlikely or you are not a power user. I need things instantly and Google Instant Search is not really instant because (DUH!) Javascript is not fast and their code is not efficient at all to gather keyboard input. An easy experiment would be to type in stuff really quickly while the page is trying to load instant results.

tanjiajun_34 said,
6. I thought you can choose to use a mouse?
Correct. So why is there an option for using the keyboard? Did you ever notice where the arrow '>' goes to after you have hit Enter? Did you ever notice what happens when you hit Enter, especially when the **** freezes? If you by mistake hit enter twice, there is a HIGH chance that you will be open an advertisement instead of an actual result.

Google isn't doing this for the heck of it. They need people to open their bloody ads by hook or crook.

Edited by Jebadiah, Feb 4 2011, 6:10am :

Jebadiah said,
I was never a "fan". I was okay with using Google until
1. they started using my Location without my permission for giving me search results and without giving me an option to turn it Off.
2. they started forwarding me through a google.com link to the result I click on. They did not do this for *all* links until their site renovation.
3. they went against "net neutrality" in the deeper sense.
4. they started using my private data for their benefit to show me behavioral ads. All these things should be Opt-In and not Opt-Out. Hell, Google does not provide an Opt-Out.
5. they brought the stupid Instant Search which freezes even in their own Chrome browser.
6. they started using keyboard arrow keys and Enter key to open results. I have so many times opened wrong links because of this.
7. they started putting ads on top which look just like search results. Thanks to hosts file from http://www.mvps.org, I have never once successfully opened a stupid ad.

1. Bing is using my location without my permission too. How did my city end up on their search page? I'm not even signed in.
2. I don't see how this is a problem, both sites track you regardless.
3. How? If anything, they are for net neutrality. Look what they did in Egypt.
4. Again, Bing does the same thing, they have opt-out and not opt-in
http://choice.live.com/advertisementchoice/
and Google DOES have opt-out
http://www.google.com/privacy/ads/
5. Slow computer alert, turn it off.
6. Wow, you have problems my friend. Stop hitting random keys.
7. Woah, check this out duuuude!! http://imgur.com/Lt8RX

Jebadiah said,
I was never a "fan". I was okay with using Google until
1. they started using my Location without my permission for giving me search results and without giving me an option to turn it Off.
2. they started forwarding me through a google.com link to the result I click on. They did not do this for *all* links until their site renovation.
3. they went against "net neutrality" in the deeper sense.
4. they started using my private data for their benefit to show me behavioral ads. All these things should be Opt-In and not Opt-Out. Hell, Google does not provide an Opt-Out.
5. they brought the stupid Instant Search which freezes even in their own Chrome browser.
6. they started using keyboard arrow keys and Enter key to open results. I have so many times opened wrong links because of this.
7. they started putting ads on top which look just like search results. Thanks to hosts file from http://www.mvps.org, I have never once successfully opened a stupid ad.

sounds similar to what happened to yahoo...interesting..

Jebadiah said,
2. they started forwarding me through a google.com link to the result I click on. They did not do this for *all* links until their site renovation.

Google have always relied on this user feedback loop. It only took a few months for their index to get better than Alta Vista's when they started out.

You complain about the links back to Google instead of directly to your site, but before the recent redesign it would instead fire off an asynchronous XHR back to Google (that was never responded to) to inform them of your click. So it's pretty much the same deal except now Google knows even if their JavaScript code can't execute for some reason.