I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that Google is accusing Microsoft of using Google results to improve the results you get on Bing. I think this is genius.
Using the logic behind this sort of strategy, I should develop a search engine that’s free of actual web crawlers and servers and any sort of infrastructure. It will just have ads to make money.
No wait, that’s already out there. They’re called Dogpile and Beaucoup and half a dozen also-ran engines that some people like to use. At least, those engines credit Google, whereas Microsoft does not.
This, of course, brings the nasty little habit that Microsoft has of lifting other people’s ideas and good works and “embracing” them back to the forefront.
Hey, all they are doing is embracing the Google results so you, the customer, can benefit.
Microsoft, of course, says this assertion is bogus. It may well be, since we always suspect the worst when it comes to Microsoft and its business practices. Google claims to have spotted this practice some time back, so it began to plant bogus information in its search results. Then Microsoft magically had it in its search results. Busted!
The bigger question that nobody wants to answer is whether or not this is legal and what is Google going to do about it, except grouse.
Google could steal the Google-augmented Bing results and have uber-results, but then Microsoft could grab those results, which would only create a vicious cycle of ripping each other off.
Google is going to have to sue Microsoft and humiliate the company by exposing the fact that Microsoft doesn’t really want to compete with Google. Microsoft doesn’t have the server farms, the bots, or the inclination to load up the company with search wonks, working on search algorithms all day and night.
By the way, has anyone wondered exactly where Yahoo fits into this picture? It did a deal with Microsoft to use Bing. Has Yahoo been out scammed? If true I’d love to hear the shouting match between Ballmer and Carol Bartz.
If I was Microsoft, I’d argue that it was merely monitoring Google results to compare them to the Bing results as a service to the user. The bad planted information was some sort of horrible mistake, and the company don’t know exactly what happened. You know, like the early explanations about how various hidden Digital Research copyright notices somehow ended up in DOS 1.0 back in the day.
“These things happen, your honor.”
Ethics aside, where’s this headed? And how important is it? To me, if this is happening—I believe it is—then Microsoft should just admit defeat and shutter Bing or license the Google engine and be done with it. “Bing! Powered by Google” works for me. At least, it would be honest.
In the meantime, Microsoft should be ashamed of itself. Let’s hope the company doesn’t blame some rogue employee who meant well. Nobody is going to buy into that.