World War I started with an assassination. The War for Troy was for the love of a woman. It seems the latest feud is over search engine results. Google and Microsoft have been at each other's throats for the past 12 hours using both Twitter and their blogs as battlefields.

Google, according to a post by Danny Sullivan, says they've been running a sting operation to try and see how Bing provides their search results. Google accuses Bing of stealing, by claiming that Bing watches how Google users click on certain results for certain search words and uses that information to provide their own search result listing. This improves Bing's relavancy. Google says that this is equivalent to Bing leaning over and cheating in an exam. Bing hasn't denied these claims, and have even said on their blog that one of the ways they rank their search results is from clickstream data by anonymous users who have consented to be part of Bing's research methods.

A part of Google's sting operation

Google then gets back at Microsoft, via blog post again saying that Bing does in fact copy Google's rankings and even denies it. They even said that Microsoft, in order to steal Google's ranking, is either using Internet Explorer 8 which can send data to Microsoft via its Suggested Sites feature or the Bing toolbar which can send data via Microsoft's Customer Experience Improvement Program.

The next move came from Microsoft communication head, Frank Shaw where he tweeted saying, ” Don’t be fooled. Google wants to change subject because they’re under investigation in the US and Europe for manipulating search results” and “Google collects customer data from Chrome and Android. Pot calling kettle black? ” and even “Harry Shum very clear on 1k plus signals used in ranking algorithm…includes clickstream data.”

Google's Matt Cutts responds over Twitter saying, “So far Bing's response seems to be “We don't copy Google's results. Of course we do.” vs.“. Dave Winer, a visiting scholar of journalism at NYU then tweets, “Oooops looks like Google caught Microsoft cheating in search” to which Frank Shaw replies, tweeting, “@davewiner no they didn't” and later “@davewiner Google had employees log onto ms customer feedback system and send results to Microsoft” to which Matt Cutts cuts in and says, “@fxshaw @davewiner normal people call that “IE8″”. Of course Shaw doesn't let him get away with it and zings back, “@mattcutts hey if this whole engineering thing doesn't work out for you, try PR — you've got the chops for it. ;)”

Whew! We're out of popcorn for the moment but stay tuned for more on this battle. We're taking bets on which medium they're going to duke it out on next.

Tags: , , , , , , ,