Bing has started learning from the competition. Not just learning, but copying too!! Google Fellow Amit Singhal popped a brilliant brainchild called “Bing Sting”. To make it work, a group of 20 Google Employees found a list of terms which returned null results for both the search engines. Then a page was specifically redirected for that term, and the page was called a “Honeypot”. After doing so, Google Employees began clicking the top result on IE, with both Suggested Sites switched on and a Bing Toolbar. After two weeks, Bing was showing the same result as that of Google for 7 to 9 of 100 or so of the “honeypot” pages. mbrzxpgjys, hiybbprqag, and indoswiftjobinproduction are some of the absolutely non-sensical terms chosen to minimize any chance of co-incidences.
Microsoft sent out a statement from Stefan Weitz, director of Bing:
We use multiple signals and approaches in ranking search results. The overarching goal is to do a better job determining the intent of the search so we can provide the most relevant answer to a given query. Opt-in programs like the toolbar help us with clickstream data, one of many input signals we and other search engines use to help rank sites.
So what does it mean? For all those of you using IE, the privacy statement clearly reads its going to send some data to Microsoft anyways, and Suggested Sites and Bing Toolbar say they collect data to improve user experience. But is taking an unethical shortcut fair? Do leave your views on the comments.
PS: Head onto SearchEngineLand for a comprehensive report about the same.