Today’s Farsight Conference, hosted by Bing, was supposed to be about the future of search. Instead it turned into a catfight between the two biggest players, Google and Microsoft.
Google’s spam chief Matt Cutts kicked things off by accusing Bing of copying Google’s search results.
Google, apparently suspicious of Bing, intentionally laid a couple search traps, tweaking results on rare search terms and watching to see if Microsoft’s results would follow suit. They did.
“My argument is that users use search engine they are actually willing to share the data. We are collectively using the data to improve the search engine,” replied Harry Shum, VP of search development at Bing, who was sitting right next to Cutts. “Everyone does this, Matt.”
“We don’t use clicks on Bing’s users in Google’s ranking,” Cutts replied.
Shum then changed tactics, accusing Google of intentionally profiting from spam. And Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s PR boss, blasted out this tweet:
“Don’t be fooled. Google wants to change subject because they’re under investigation in the US and Europe for manipulating search results.”
But if Microsoft copies Google, and Google manipulates results, does that mean Bing is guilty too?
bpopper [at] observer.com | @benpopper