Microsoft's search engine Bing has responded to the allegations of copying from the world's number one search engine by dubbing the whole ordeal a back-handed compliment.
In a blog post, Harry Shum, Corporate Vice President, Bing, said Google's efforts were a spy-novelesque stunt to generate extreme outliers in tail query ranking.
It was a creative tactic by a competitor, and we'll take it as a back-handed compliment. But it doesn't accurately portray how we use opt-in customer data as one of many inputs to help improve our user experience, he added.
Shum published the blog post just ahead of his presence on the panel at the Farsight Summit. The timing of the response also earned Bing brownie points among the internet community, especially since Google has been accused of sitting on the information for days and voicing its complaints ahead of the Summit with an intention of keeping the heat away from its own spam and relevancy issues.
The Corporate Vice President also explained how the Bing engineering team worked years to deliver the best search relevance and quality in the industry and for our users.
We use over 1,000 different signals and features in our ranking algorithm. A small piece of that is clickstream data we get from some of our customers, who opt-in to sharing anonymous data as they navigate the web in order to help us improve the experience for all users, he said asserting that Bing learns from customers.
However, Bing did admit that it depended on collective intelligence , which is the case with many internet companies.
The history of the web and the improvement of a broad array of consumer and business experiences is actually the story of collective intelligence, from sharing HTML documents to hypertext links to click data and beyond, Shum said, in a statement that has come to be interpreted as Bing's admission to depending on others' data.
Earlier Stefan Weitz, director of the Bing search engine at Microsoft, conceded in an interview that Bing looked at clickstream data, or information that users of Microsoft's Internet Explorer or the Bing search toolbar voluntarily share with the company. However, Weitz clarified that this is just one of the thousand signals that Bing uses for its algorithm.
Google on Tuesday accused Bing of copying its search results based on a sting operation. The internet behemoth detected something shady while working on typographical errors in search terms. Deciding to investigate further, Google set up a honeypot to capture the operation in action in December 2010. After days of studying and with results as proof, Google began the tirade against Bing.