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Google's Search Copying Accusation Called 'Silly' 380

Posted by timothy
from the well-that's-not-very-silly-now-is-it? dept.
itwbennett writes "Google's Bing sting, reported in Slashdot just days ago and subsequently denied by Microsoft, is now being called 'silly' and 'petty' by search industry analysts and execs. The reason: it would be impossible for Microsoft to use the copied results to reverse engineer Google's search algorithms. And in fact it is more likely that Microsoft was conducting competitive research. Charlene Li, founder of technology research and advisory firm Altimeter Group, saw Google's actions as a misguided response to a real threat from a competitor in its core search business. 'Google isn't used to having competition. You look at this incident and you wonder why they are doing this. It feels amateurish in a way, a kind of 'they're not playing fair' attitude,' she said."
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Google's Search Copying Accusation Called 'Silly'

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  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @02:09AM (#35109786) Homepage

    It worked, though. It diverted attention from Microsoft's accusation that Google profits from search spam.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @02:20AM (#35109820)

    They seem to be dancing around the core charge of copying what were nonsensical search results that, if not copied from Google, should not have returned any results. They also seem to be attempting to misdirect in talking about "copying Google's algorithm", when I believe the charge is specifically about copying search results.

    I did note that the "Altimeter Group" has only been around a couple years - and has a very website that is full of vague social media-related buzzwords without indicating what, exactly, is their actual skillset (if anything).

  • by reiisi (1211052) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @03:11AM (#35109954) Homepage

    I think you're confused on the point of "attack".

    For example, I can post a link to this page [cnet.com]. Google can now see the page. Of course, it could get to that page from within shopper.cnet.com, anyway, but the robots.txt file or NOINDEX/NOFOLLOW tags may be warning it off. (So Google has to walk the URL back up to http://shopper.cnet.com/robots.txt [cnet.com], to make sure, and it may not see http://www.shopper.com/robots.txt [shopper.com], by the way.)

    More to the point, I can post a link to this page [cnet.com] of a search result on shopper.com. Then Google can see that search. And, in an hour or two, it might show up in a google search of "wall wart servers", which would be useless, but anyway.

    I can post a link to this query [cnet.com], however, and, not only might Google's spider collect it (from here), but it might not even have to get it from here. I'm probably not the first person to search shopper.com for "Small office home office server".

    I can't see there being an ethical issue here, because those links feed people to shopper.com. In fact, cnet likely has some agreements with Google on that. And many such search sites (well, smaller ones) deliberately use Google's search engines to save themselves a bit of infrastructure cost.

    Google, on the other hand, may prefer not to put some of those small search sites results on their general search pages, but that's a side issue.

    Now, how do you suppose that bing picks up a query like, "m4-7734-6al 63363r [google.com]"? Unless someone posts that (like I just did), how does bing get that query just from my using it in a Google search a few minutes ago?

    To say this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black, you'd be accusing google of planting code in Chrome that watches for bing search results and feeds them back to google's search engine optimizer on the sly. (A new way for a browser to call home!) And/or of making deals with the Mozilla team. But the evidence you mention doesn't really support that, as someone else points out.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @03:56AM (#35110094)

    A pure marketing lead response is 100% right. The funniest thing was that the attempt to claim click fraud [businessinsider.com]. If we remember click fraud is where a site owner tries to get advertising revenue by making fraudulent clicks. I don't see how Google manages to get advertising revenue from Bing. This just seems to be a case of when you get caught start slinging as much mud around randomly as you can and hope people don't notice.

    In case people haven't noticed; what Google has discovered means that if you have private information leaked somewhere (e.g. a password in an SQL query) this means that bing is now pushing that straight from your browser (where it should normally be safe) onto the web. I'm surprised nobody has managed to find a bunch of interesting secret information in bing based on this. There must be some way to get it out. A good chance would be looking for unique keys in URLs or web pages and then feeding them into Bing.

    This just looks so obviously terribly wrong that you can see that Microsoft really doesn't have a clue about search. No wonder they have to copy.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @04:01AM (#35110108)

    On a related note, what's with all the Google-bashing recently?

    I've seen some of it followed up on Grocklaw. As usual, it seems to trace back to Microsoft astro-turfers and lobby groups of various kinds. Microsoft seems to be pushing for some anti-Google anti-trust lawsuits, probably as a pre-emptive move to make any Google anti-trust moves more difficult during the various anti-patent lawsuits.

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