In an elaborate sting operation months in the making, Google has reportedly caught Bing cheating off its search results. And the timing could not come at a more inopportune time: top Google and Bing execs are scheduled to meet today in San Francisco at the Big Think event Farsight 2011: Beyond the Search Box. This marks one of the first times top players from search giant Google and Microsoft upstart Bing have gathered in public. And tensions should be high given today's news.
Gizmodo quotes Google Fellow Amit Singhal, who is none too happy about the announcement: "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...I don't know how else to call it but plain and simple cheating. Another analogy is that it's like running a marathon and carrying someone else on your back, who jumps off just before the finish line."
Come to Big Think's homepage at 1pm EST/10am PST to watch a live stream of today's event, and see what happens!
Update: During the second panel in today's Big Think event, Matt Cutts, Principal Engineer at Google, accused Bing of using Google search data for improving its search results. Dr. Harry Shum, Corporate VP of Core Search Development at Microsoft, resented being called a "cheat" and responded by claiming that Bing is simply putting to work the data "that users have made available online" to improve their search algorithm — just like Google. Later in the discussion Dr. Shum emphasized that Google's way of incentivizing spammers via its AdSense program "lies at the heart of the spam problem." Google's Matt Cutts may lament the fact that there are a million new spam pages created every hour, but Google, says Dr. Shum, is making billions on those spammers. Until that changes, spam will always be a problem for search.