#google? #bing?

Bing vs Google vs …?, grab your popcorn!

I found an interesting post: “Binggate is Bullshit”

Here is the text:

Google is bullshitting.

According to the Official Google Blog Microsoft’s Bing uses Google search results—and denies it the story goes like this.  Google noticed a similarity between the search results returned by Google and Bing when the term “torsoraphy” was entered.  Both returned the Wikipedia page for “Tarsorrhaphy” as the top result. Google immediately decided that Microsoft was copying their search results and charged 20 of their engineers with proving it. After several weeks of effort and the creation of hard coded search results Google was able to inject 7 out of 100 fake search terms into Bing’s database.

Turns out, Wikimedia’s search function returns the same result for “torsoraphy” as Bing and Google.

It looks like both submit “torsoraphy” to wikipedia’s search API and return it’s result as the top. Bing stops there, but Google submits Wikimedia’s suggestion to it’s own database in order to return more relevant results.

Google knows how Microsoft got those “suspicious” results – directly from the Wikimedia engine just like Google appears to have done.  If that’s a sin, then they’re both equally guilty.  But in this fight Google pulled out all the stops with a twenty engineer black hat operation against Bing and breaking their prime directive by hard coding search results.

All for a PR play at Farsight 2011

And where I come from that’s bullshit.

Here we go!

First item: wikipedia!:

A wikipedia admin called Nihiltres created the article ‘Torsorophy‘ (on 2 February 2011) and made a wikipedia-redirect to another page ‘‘Tarsorrhaphy’. Maybe he wanted to fool or troll us, we don’t know his/her intentions.

But suddenly the page was deleted while writing this blog post! After digging around there were still some cached pages around the web:

The user history of the wikipedia admin had no tracks which could lead to that Torsoraphy article…
After having a chat with some wikipedia operators on IRC about that deleted article, they first told me there was never a page on wikipedia called Torsoraphy.
(ME, user1 and wikiop1 are fake names)

[22:14] <wikiop1> ME: link to the deleted page?
[22:14] <ME> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torsorophy
[22:17] <wikiop1> ME: did you mean http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarsorrhaphy
[22:19] <ME> http://news.ycombinator.net/item?id=2168849
[22:19] <ME> so he created this
[22:19] <ME> why is this not visible in his user history?
[22:20] <ME> wikiop1?
[22:20] <wikiop1> ME: there was never a page under the link you provided
[22:21] <ME> yes there was and user Strel corrected it
[22:21] <ME> http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Torsoraphy&diff=411569249&oldid=411505089
[22:23] <user1> blanking pages is never a correction
[22:24] <wikiop1> ME: {{fixed}}

Hey! suddenly there was actually a page! it was “suddenly” “fixed”:

So far this wikipedia story...


Now I wanted to see if there was some truth in that blog post from kludgecode about wikipedia.
So I began to test:

I changed the word: Anthophora to Antliophora

Wikipedia query: Antliophora

Bing query: Antliophora
(no wikipedia.org/.com results or suggestions)

Google query: Antliophora
(both have the same suggestion as wikipedia, and the second google query has far more wikipedia.com/.org links, giving us a good hint that they might really use wikipedia to improve results)


Next: I changed the word: Amphiesmenoptera to Ampiesmenoptera

Wikipedia query: Ampiesmenoptera

Bing query: Ampiesmenoptera
(no wikipedia.org/.com results or suggestions)

Google query: Ampiesmenoptera
(same suggestions as wikipedia and we have again wikipedia results on top…)


Next: I changed the word: nomenclature to nomenclaturo

Wikipedia query: nomenclaturo

Bing query: nomenclaturo
(suggestions from wikipedia and wikipedia links on top)

Google query: nomenclaturo
(suggestions from wikipedia and wikipedia links on top)


Next: I changed the name: Schiffermüller to Schiffermüllre

Wikipedia query: Schiffermüllre

The result page of the correct name on wikipedia:

Bing query: Schiffermüllre
(nothing found from wikipedia)

Google query: Schiffermüllre
(again suggestions from wikipedia and wikipedia links on top…!)


At 01-02-2011 (yesterday) there was this Big Think event called “Farsight 2011: Beyond the Search Box“. Isn’t this suspicious? Is it a PR stunt from google, trying to damage the competion?

What do you think?
I have my popcorn ready 😉

Update: See also: Is Google trying to redirect traffic from bing through ads“?


9 thoughts on “#google? #bing?

  1. “Any publicity is good publicity” — Google is only helping Bing become more famous. More people will know about it and hence more people will start using it.

  2. You have provided explanation for ‘torsoraphy’ and some more biological/medical terms by saying Wikipedia is the source of suggesting the right spelling and the results. What made bing to return a wrong search result inserted by google for ‘hiybbprqag’,’delhipublicschool40 chdjob’, ‘juegosdeben1ogrande’ ? Any answers?

  3. Some quotes from:

    “You’re simplifying something that has been explained. Google employees used the Bing search bar to “teach” it that end users wanted a bad result. Then after molding the results they want, they claim Bing was copying.

    As for GeekTwo, as geeman89 pointed out, from about the middle of last year, Yahoo started using Bing results for their engine instead of continuing their own search algorithm. I guess it’s the placebo effect. You want to hate Bing, so you do, regardless of real results. ”

    “Even if that’s true, that’s not the point. The point is that part of the Bing system relies on entries from Bing Toolbar users, and Google exploited that to make it appear that they used Google results when it was only after months of results shaping.

    You can get a little more information here, if truth is really what you want: http://www.technewsd…t-rivalry-1271/ ”

    “20 Google engineers opted in to an anonymous customer feedback program in Bing Bar. The Google engineers then proceeded to search for the honeypot using the nonsense keyword. When the search results appeared, they clicked on the link/honeypot. They did this over and over.

    Microsoft was flooded with messages of the form:
    “A user searched for saldjkfaldkfalaldkf and eventually clicked on the link ABC.COM”

    So, what did Microsoft/Bing do? They figured out (using statistical machine learning algorithms) that for the search saldjkfaldkfalaldkf, users wanted ABC.COM.

    It’s as simple as that.”

  4. I think you said it best. People want to believe the lie so they’re look at every and any reason to cling on to it. I’ve noticed bing has been improving gradually and like the improvements. I still use both search engines but frankly google has lost me and bing has found ways to win me over.

    I think google had no real agenda going into Farsight (a bing sponsored event) and instead of appearing to be a follower they decided to slam bing for a practice that google has not denied they don’t use.

  5. I am quite disappointed in Google for having to resort to dirty tricks to fight Bing …. in my opinion, no matter how good Bing might become, I’d still use google because it isn’t run by the most vile, evil, and stupid software company on the planet: Microsoft. I guess you can think of Google as the lesser of two “evils”! hehehe. Seriously though, Microsoft are such greedy bastards, they can’t see that their attempt to get a “big share” of the “search engine market” is totally futile …. they’ll always be far behind Google! Bwahahaha!

  6. Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your
    content seem to be running off the screen in Chrome.

    I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you
    know. The design and style look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon.
    Many thanks

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