Googles core business is basically to copy content from our websites and exploit it commercially. In Search Engine Land today Google cry like little girls because they claim Bing is copying their search results. Grow up Google! If it’s ethical for you to copy information why is it unethical for others to do the same?
I agree with Harry Shum, Corporate VP at Bing in his comment today that the reason search and the web works is because of “collective intelligence”. He admits that Bing does use clickstream data as one out of more than 1,000 different signals to create the best index and he suggest that all engines should do the same (and probably do).
If you don’t know anything what I am talking about then I suggest you read the two articles that I link to above. They explain the case well.
There are a lot of funny and interesting things about this case …
One more Google hoax!
First of all there is the experiment Google ran last year when they suspected Bing was copying some of their top search results. Google claim that they made a special piece of code to be able to boost a specific web page to the top of search results for one particular keyword just to run this experiment. They have to say so because they have always claimed that they don’t have the ability to do so. It is al algorithmic. Right, as if we believed that..
We all know for sure that Google have the technical ability to manually de-rank specific websites. You don’t need to be a very experienced SEO to know this. I don’t even think Google ever denied that – although they prefer the world to think that all is done algorithmically.
I do not believe that Google made that knob go just one way! Off course they can promote sites too. And I don’t even see a problem with that. Google should do whatever they think will create the best search results. Period.
The people I have talked to at Bing never tried to hide the fact that they can promote individual sites. They do this on very prominent searches and big brands if the best results are not found algorithmically. Off course its best if the algorithms can handle it but they will never be perfect. I actually think it’s kind of childish of Google to hold on to the claim that they do no manual tweaking. It’s a bizarre type of geeky arrogance.
Google further claim that after they ran this test they removed the “boost code” – trashed it, so that they can no longer do this. Who – other than clueless reporters, believe this? I don’t.
Who is copying who and what is illegal?
Google have not said that they consider what Bing is doing illegal. Apparently they are not sure about that now. Neither am I. It could off course turn out to be illegal. I hope not. But in any case I think its OK to do. Google on the other hand say that they think its very unethical.
Googles Amit SinghaIt’s is quoted for saying: “It’s cheating to me because we work incredibly hard and have done so for years but they just get there based on our hard work,”
Just how is that different from Google (and all other search engines for that matter) copying our websites that we have worked so hard on for years?
Is clickstream data valid and ethical?
Google also say that they would never use clickstream data like Bing is apparently is doing. But this is not entirely true. Last year Google announced that they now collect site speed at the user level with the Google Toolbar and use this directly in their ranking algorithms. Just as one out of many signals – just like Bing use data from their toolbar as one out of many signals. The only difference is that Google “steal” from us – Bing “steal” from Google.
Why did Google break the news?
Google started their research last year – and apparently got the final data long time ago. Why do they break the news now – on the very same day that Microsoft is hosting a search conference? Could it be to just tease Microsoft and set the agenda of the day? Or is it and attempt to drive away the recent weeks increasing media coverage on bad search results in Google?
One thing I am pretty sure of is that it is not by coincidence. Google are very skilled in PR: I don’t think Google was trying to tease Microsoft but I do think Google is using this to remove the focus on bad search results.
I don’t think Google made a smart choice in this case. It is very dangerous for Google to pull the “ethics” card. It is very easy for search geeks and journalists to find many examples of Google acting much more unethical than what Bing is doing in this case. Google could loose that battle seriously.
Also, I really hope Google will not move forward with a legal case. That would be ridiculous in my mind and undermine Googles own operations in the long run. We don’t need more restrictions of how to improve our collective intelligence – we need less!