I have to admit that back in my school days I would sometimes “forget” to do my maths homework. Thankfully I used my natural charm (and the fact that I had done my geography homework) to convince a girl called Rachel to allow me to copy her work. This worked successfully for a little while until my teacher noticed we had both made the same uncommon mistake in some tricky algebra. I was reminded of these events recently when I read an article about what is being referred to in the media as the “Bing Sting”. Microsoft has had to defend itself recently against claims that it has stolen search results from Google.
During a Microsoft sponsored event in San Francisco, Google announced that it had laid a trap to prove that Microsoft had been “copying homework.” Google had manually linked some extremely obscure keywords to completely unrelated websites. When searching Google and Bing, both search engines returned exactly the same results. Microsoft has denied the claims and Bing’s corporate vice president Harry Shum has said, ''It's not like we actually copy anything." That is exactly what I told my maths teacher, but given the rivalry between these companies, I don’t think my excuse that we helped each other study would be believed. Given the recent intensive TV advertising campaign showing that Bing is different and gives users exactly what they search for, rather than making random strangers impersonate a howler monkey, this could be a bitter blow in the ongoing tussle between these internet giants. (Photo: topnews.net.nz)