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Google, Microsoft spar over search results quality Google, Microsoft spar over search results quality Google, Microsoft spar over search results quality Google, Microsoft spar over search results quality Google, Microsoft spar over search results quality Google, Microsoft spar over search results quality.


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Google, Microsoft spar over search results quality

Associated Press
by JESSICA MINTZ and MICHAEL LIEDTKE
February 1, 2011

SEATTLE (AP) - Google is accusing Microsoft Corp. of cheating as the two duel for Internet search supremacy, but Microsoft denies the charge, saying it's just using all available weapons to lessen its rival's dominance.

The dust-up between the two companies that process virtually all of North America's search requests grabbed the spotlight Tuesday at an event sponsored by Microsoft about the future of Internet searches. Microsoft's practices have even wider implications now that its technology powers Yahoo Inc. searches in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, and Brazil as part of a 10-year partnership that grew out of the companies' inability to mount a serious challenge to Google on their own.

Google, Microsoft spar over search results quality.

Google's attempt to embarrass Microsoft at an event devoted to innovation served as the latest reminder of the tensions between the technology heavyweights. While Microsoft has been pecking at Google in search, Google has been chipping away at Microsoft's advantage in computer software with its own suite of competing products.

"We just want everyone to know the truth about how Microsoft operates as a search engine, which is by taking the hard work of others and presenting it as their own," said Amit Singhal, a Google fellow who oversees the company's closely guarded search formulas. He made his comments in a phone interview.

Microsoft did nothing more than adjust its results after monitoring Internet Explorer users' search requests and clicking activity on Google as well as its own site, Bing, according to Harry Shum, a corporate vice president for Bing. In a blog post, Blum derided Google for engaging in a "a spy-novelesque stunt."

Google Inc. set out to expose Microsoft's tactics last year, said Matt Cutts, the head of Google's Web spam team. That's when it appeared Bing was showing search results that seemed a little too close to Google's own - especially for obscure, misspelled queries.

The similarities raised suspicions that Microsoft's IE Web browser and various other tools were feeding information back that helped Microsoft's engineers make Bing's results more Google-like.

Google laid a trap to prove it. The company made a list of gibberish or obscure search terms and manually linked them to unrelated websites. Then, 20 Google engineers took home laptops loaded with Internet Explorer, searched Google.com for those terms and clicked on the artificial results. Soon after, searching for the same odd terms on Bing would call up the same odd results.

Cutts likened the trap to a mapmaker drawing a fake street or the Yellow Pages adding a fake name to its directory to flush out copycats.

The "Bing Sting" was first reported on the Search Engine Land blog before emerging as a hot topic during a panel discussion that included Cutts and Shum. The San Francisco event was streamed over the Internet.

"It's not like we actually copy anything," Shum said. "We learn from customers who are willing to share data with us, just like Google does."

Those data include not only the searches people type into Bing, but also into Google, and what links they click on. The information can be used to fine-tune Bing's own search results. And that sort of "collective intelligence," Shum said, is how the Web is supposed to work.

Google doesn't use people's behavior on Bing the same way, Cutts said during Tuesday's event.

In an interview, Singhal argued it's unfair for Bing to piggyback on Google 's technology.

"It's like a student cheating on his test and saying, 'Yeah, I could see my classmates' test, so I wrote it down,'" Singhal said. "If that's not cheating, what is?"

Cutts and Shum traded jabs about whether people read the fine print when installing the Chrome or IE browser software that explains what Web surfing information is fed back to the company.

When the discussion moved on to the problem of increasing spam pages and low-quality content online, Shum blamed Google for rewarding the owners of such pages with advertising dollars.

Cutts said Google manually blocks spam pages regardless of whether they carry Google ads but wants to find a technology solution for the problem instead of picking off useless sites one by one.



Learn more about Search Engine Optimization, the most effective form of online advertising.

Search Engine Marketing is the fastest growing advertising medium in the world, projected to become 10x more powerful and influential than traditional media outlets such as: network television, cable television, local television, network radio, local radio, satellite radio, national newspapers, local newspapers, magazines, billboards, direct mail, telemarketing and more.

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An aside for consideration are the segments of Search Engine Optimization. Clarification is required in terms of paid search marketing, sponsored search advertising, pay per click, email marketing (spam), and the foundation of strategic internet marketing: Organic Search Engine Optimization - Organic SEO in some circles also referred to as Natural Search Engine Optimization - Natural SEO.
 


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  • Keyword search is the 2nd most popular online activity, rapidly approaching the popularity of email retrieval.
     
  • 90% of all new website visitors are delivered by a major search engine and/or directory.
     
  • 98% of all keyword search activity results are powered by the big 4 search engines: Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL.
     
  • Keyword search results on Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL are all determined by a search engine spider and/or robot crawler.
     
  • Recent internet marketing studies confirm that keyword searchers prefer the organic results at a 6 to 1 ratio vs. pay-per-click sponsored search advertising listings. 

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