This can easily be demonstrated. Google can set up a second honeypot but instruct its engineers not to click on the link, ever. If it shows up in Bing's results, then Bing is watching what Google returns and scraping its results.
But if the second Honeypot doesn't show up in Bing's results, then clearly Bing isn't copying Google's results, it's copying its toolbar's preference for links.
The entire thing is moot to me. The takeaway in't whether Bing copies Google. The takeaway is that Bing's toolbar is spyware :-)
I'd question even that hyperbolic interpretation. Let's say that Google sets up a script that sends queries to websites and then record the results and incorporates what links are shown on that site into their search rankings. Is that clearly copying? No, that's just pagerank.
If you have a web directory, a link page, a blogroll--isn't Google "copying" your work by using it to improve its search results? How is that any different from what Bing's doing?
This is my first thought as well. Google's pagerank analyzes the link structure of the web as one of the inputs to its search ranking. Apparently, Bing's toolbar analyzes page content coupled with user click behavior as one of the inputs to its search ranking.
These two things don't seem very different to me. Both of them are relying heavily on the value provided to them by tracking and analyzing the behavior of users on the web to drive search results.
Bing will be at fault if they specifically target Google. But if you consider entering a keyword and then click a link is essentially targeting Google search, then it only expose another problem, that is Google's monopoly on the search market.
Microsoft is collecting the same sort of information on Google queries that it collects on Bing queries and that Google collects on Google queries. All this is happening at the long tail where both companies are most likely using something other than webcrawling to tailor search results - afterall the whole experiment is only possible because Google can seed page rankings at will to link arbitrary terms to specific search results.
(Given Google's near-monopoly of the market, Microsoft and DDG have some amusing competitive synergy going on, don't they. DDG can criticize Google all they please for retaining user data because DDG doesn't and isn't in a position to benefit from it. Microsoft, which certainly is in a position to benefit from it, doesn't need to worry about Google calling them on it because Google is the only search engine that can actually lose market share over the issue.)
It could be something a registered user could set from a browser toggle, and DuckDuckGo is a very good project, or course. My point was: data portability and user control are within Google's long term interest, not being evasive about their data cache.
Where you’ll be more limited with it, is that it’s apparently not IE, but the Bing Bar that is at stake—the connection is getting thinner.
(C.A.R Hoare's billion dollar mistake, for example).
Just because you're copying the data indirectly through a third party doesn't mean you're not breaching the copyright.
Very murky waters. If Google starts complaining that other people are tracking their users, they might end up educating users about how much they and their advertisers track.
...I hope DuckDuckGo figures out a way to capitalize on this brouhaha...
Call Google the market leader all you want, but let's not forget that Microsoft's market cap is around 40 billion dollars greater than Google's.
That's more than Research in Motion's total value!
these are cases of outliers. they don't exist on the real internet, or at least where pages exist without any other data (anchor text, inlinks, outlinks, words from the query in the document) they never get surfaced from a search engine.
abscent fake click-data there is no way google could surface these documents for the specific queries. in fact google states this openly in their "attack piece". before they manually changed the rank of these document they didn't surface these either.
the only evidence of "cheating" is that bing surfaces document for which there is no known relationship between the query and the document, except for spam created by google engineers. this is evidence only of a bug in bings ranking algorithm. clearly it is using signals from google. just like google uses signal from CNN (keywords, inlinks, outlinks, anchor text, etc).
i'm sure bing is thankful to google for helping find this defect in their system and are hard at work to fix it.
people talk about bing copying search results like google invented search results and put a lot of hard work into them. in this case the only hard work they put in was designed to spam bing.
i can only conclude that google is getting worried about bing quality and has run out of ideas on how to fix their own problems.
I get why Google is upset, but this doesn't strike me as unethical behaviour in a free market.
This should help establish if it's the toolbar that is sniffing.
If so, while it may be questionable behavior, Bing would not be copying Google's results.