Bing, Google, Cookie Jars and Data Scrapes

Bing Bong Bell, Google’s in Da Hell

There’s a been a lot of noise about Bing and Google this week regarding Bing stealing Google results. Matt Cutts is at the centre of it having had a bit of a ding dong with Harry Shum see video below (40 mins long) over Googles assertion that Bing have been a little sneaky and have scraped/stolen/reverse engineered/indexed Google SERPs.

I’ve no axe to grind with Matt or Google but on this one they seem to have got it wrong and misread the landscape.

Emulators emulate emulators emulate emulators…

Here’s what I don’t get – Google have most certainly copied features from other parts of the web, including features used by search competitors so I’m surprised that it’s such a big deal to learn that a competitor might be doing the same, albeit clandestinely.

Some are suggesting that the timing of the announcement to DS was also a bit snarky in that it was timed to collide w/ a  Bing announcement . Maybe this is just coincidence but from what I’ve read it wouldn’t be the first time that Google has sought to steal Bings thunder either, hence the various blogs of apparent indignation.

Like for Like

A while back I read that Bing was going to factor things like FB likes into its algo for logged in users. If Google decided to do the same (without FB knowledge) , and used say GA or the Google toolbar to do so, would they not be doing a similar thing to Bing? Would toolbar users be aware of any subtle change referenced in a previous possibly unread EULA?  I’d suspect not and ultimately very few would know.

If Google used such data and its SERPs improved as a result, then who’d even know? If questioned, surely Google would say that they use over xxx signals to rank their pages, including social data. If pressed, they’d also say that the exact mechanics of what they use and how are a closely kept secret. In other words, they’d say mind your own business, we aren’t telling.

I make reference to the EULA as Matt made a big thing of it in the video above suggesting that Bing users wouldn’t be aware that they would be used in this way.  In this regard, I think it reasonable to conclude that Google hasn’t ever forced a TB update on me, telling me that they’d changed an aspect to extra x data extraction factor z.

In that context, is there really a massive difference between what Bing is saying and what Google are saying they have stolen!? I’m not being an a$$  I’m just genuinely curious as to why Google would be so surprised to learn that Bing might have a huge dictionary of words and might just look to grab the odd ‘new string’ via use of clickstream metrics bought into by users of their services and then use it to improve what they already do. Products iterate, programmers seek to improve, automated scalable means are a good way of doing so, heck, Google itself use a similar approach to improve its algos and weed out rubbish.

I certainly get how it’s probably a matter of pride for the chaps at Google as it does appear that Bing  is using Google technology to augment its existing datasets through users on a Goog platform, but put in the context of how Google has used the tech and information of everybody else the world over to grow a world beating company, delivering fantasmagorical profits, then it does begin to look a little pot kettlesque.

Some might be forgiven for concluding that Google was taking a kicking in the public press re: spam and that this was a handy and timely deflection. In this regard I  wasn’t surprised to see the guys in the video being pretty anti Google and they appeared to double team Matt, with Blekko gaining excellent capital from the whole deal.

I’m sure this one will roll on.

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3 thoughts on “Bing, Google, Cookie Jars and Data Scrapes

  1. James

    The whole thing does seem a bit opportunist from Google TBH. I read that they trialled this technique on about 100 different keywords, and only 9 showed any change from the activity, and those were the ones where there were no other ranking signals.
    Additionally, Google haven’t been exactly blameless when it comes to “paying tribute” to Bing’s interface or home page images…
    There are also plenty of places in the Google T&Cs for Chrome and the TB where they explicityly state that they use factors such as information inserted into URLs by 3rd party website to improve user experience.
    Also, lets not forget that Google’s revenue comes from other people’s content in the form of an index that they can organise for relevance and sell advertisements around.
    Don’t get me wrong, I think the whole thing is a bit creepy, and arguably Microsoft could have done better, but neither party is entirely blameless.

    1. robwatts Post author

      Hello James, nice to see you here – Yep, when writing it, it did feel a little state-the-obviousesque and I did wonder why Google had missed what everyone else had seen, yet perhaps it is just all classic Google deflection from the whole Spam results thing, which tbh has been blown out of all proportion and has probably been fuelled by m$ themselves, the prominent attention from others part at least. War chests can pay for lots of good coverage. Maybe it’s time Google did the same.

  2. Pingback: Google-Bing Controversy (Feb 2011) Bing Side of the Story | The Bento Box

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