If you have been following the tech blogs the last couple of days, the search PR wars must have caught your eye. Google accused Bing of copying its results and the veritable follow up from Bing made for interesting reading. Before I delve any further, here is the original article that lays our Google’s accusation, the search conference where there was public airing of the complaint, Google’s blog post on the topic and Bing’s follow up.
Google is the undisputed leader in search and Bing has been a steady underdog trying to usurp the title from Google. After trying to go at it alone and failing, Microsoft entered into a strategic alliance with Yahoo where the two companies put together a synergistic approach to their search offering a meaningful competitor to Google. While it hasn’t shown dramatic results, month to month search statistics show that Bing is very slowly chipping at Google’s over sized share of the pie. Bing has also tried to use Microsoft’s investment and cozy relationship with Facebook to make things interesting (read difficult for Google).
In the meantime, the last few months has seen some prominent web journalists and bloggers claiming that Google was turning up with a lot of spam results. In a tacit affirmation of the problem, Google started making moves to reduce spam and search engine manipulation before it took a larger toll on the brand.
In this rare case of Microsoft being the underdog the corporate behemoth is milking that moniker for all its worth. Google on the other hand has bigger worries in the form of trying to assert that its search results are still relevant amidst the deluge of sophisticated spam sites purportedly from the likes of recent IPO darling, Demand Media properties.
The accusation was a rare public outburst from Google that prides on keeping itself above such trivialities. But if the accusation that Bing uses some of Google’s sophisticated algorithms for outlier searches and spelling errors is true, the future of search wars is going to get very ugly and very competitive.