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Search Engine Wars: Google Strikes Back

(James Sillars - Sky News Online | 02 February 2011)

Microsoft has been forced to defend itself against allegations it has stolen internet search results from bitter technology rival, Google.

The row emerged when Google used a Microsoft-sponsored event about internet searches in San Francisco, to announce it had laid a trap to prove their plagiarism allegations.

This has since become known as the 'Bing sting'.

The company made a list of obscure search terms and manually linked them to unrelated websites.

Then, Google engineers took home laptops loaded with Internet Explorer, searched Google.com for those terms and clicked on the artificial results.

It says that soon after, searching for the same odd terms on Microsoft's Bing would call up the same results.

Microsoft denies the plagiarism charge.

Explaining its tactics, a corporate vice president for Bing, Harry Shum, said Microsoft was only learning from customers willing to share data with them, just like Google.

"It's not like we actually copy anything" he said, describing Bing's actions as part of "collective intelligence".

The dust-up between the two companies serves as the latest reminder of the tensions between them.

While Microsoft has been pecking at Google in search, Google has been chipping away at Microsoft's advantage in computer software with its own range of competing products.

(Original article may be found here : http://news.sky.com/skynews/Article/201102115921472