We normally leave the Stephen Colbert coverage to our sister site Mediaite, but it so happens that on last night's Colbert Report, he entered the fray of what's been one of the most contentious debates in tech this week: Whether or not Bing is crossing the line in indirectly using Google's search results as signals for improving its own. [Ed: Bing is currently an advertiser on Geekosystem and other Abrams Media sites.] Whereas Googlers like Matt Cutts charge that Bing was "targeting Google deliberately" and that Google's sting proves this conclusively, Bing defenders downplay the significance of Google results to Bing's algorithm and say that Google's sting was flawed in its methodology. Daniel Eran Dilger writes that Google is "hypocritical" for "claiming to be wronged by the reuse of the information it makes publicly available" when it has greatly benefitted from the same in the past. Colbert, for his part, definitely comes across as pro-Google, despite his show's relationship with Bing (he claims that every time his bell rings on the Report, it's [obviously] making a "Bing" sound). Colbert: "For the first time ever, someone’s search history has been busted for something other than porn." (via TC)
Over at Search Engine Land, blogger Danny Sullivan has the scoop on a pattern in Bing search results which, Google alleges, shows that Microsoft's rival search engine is piggybacking off of Google's search results. [Bing is currently an advertiser on Geekosystem and other Abrams Media sites.] The full, nitty-gritty details are available on Sullivan's site, but in short, Google thinks that Microsoft is using search tools associated with its Internet Explorer browser to peek at users' search behavior on Google, then effectively copying what they choose to click on. In an attempt to "sting" Bing, Google manually created 100 sets of search results for nonsense queries like "hiybbprqag" and "mbzrxpgjys"; for between seven and nine of those queries, Google found that Bing displayed the same results, which suggested that Bing was copying off Google's answer sheet.