Microsoft hit back at Google over the firm's accusations that the Bing search engine was effectively copying Google's search results, saying that it would "clear up a few things once and for all."
"We do not copy results from any of our competitors. Period. Full stop. We have some of the best minds in the world at work on search quality and relevance, and for a competitor to accuse any one of these people of such activity is just insulting," said Microsoft online senior veep Yusuf Mehdi.
Medhi explained Google's 'Bing sting' findings by saying that the Bing search engine examins "anonymous click stream data as one of more than a thousand inputs into our ranking algorithm."
Google posted details of an elaborate proof by artificially generating search results based on a nonsense term which only existed in the Google search engine. The company was able to show that by using Internet Explorer with the Bing tool bar, these Google search results would appear in the Bing search engine.
Debate has raged among industry pundits on whether Bing's importing of user clicks from rival search engines is "copying" as Google alleges.
Mehdi slammed Google's sting, calling it a "honeypot attack" and that the experiment was designed to manipulate Bing search results through "click fraud."
"What does all this cloak and dagger click fraud prove? Nothing anyone in the industry doesn’t already know," claimed Mehdi.
Going on the offensive, Mehdi sought to equate the Google action with supposed changes to the Bing search engine in October which produced "big, noticeable improvements to Bing's relevance", claiming that "Google took notice and began to worry."
Google did indeed notice changes on October 2010, as it pointed out on the Google blog when making the accusations: "...our suspicions became much stronger in late October 2010 when we noticed a significant increase in how often Google’s top search result appeared at the top of Bing’s ranking for a variety of queries," said Google Fellow Amit Singhal.
Mehdi speculated that Google's accusations were motivated because Microsoft's loss-making Bing business was "as good or in some cases better" than Google's search.