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Google Cheating at Its Own Game?

Posted by in Industry News

Recently, Bing has been accused of copying Google’s search results. Google identified the alleged copying by creating some ‘synthetic queries’ that resulted in completely unrelated web pages. Soon after, these faked results also started appearing in Bing.

For example, Google created a synthetic query for the nonsensical word ‘hiybbprqag’. The only result for this search query was a web page about seating details in a theater.  After a while, the same results appeared on Bing.  Google claimed that the only way this could have happened is Bing simply copying the result from them, because the only connection between the query and the result was Google.

This was big news in the search engine world, and it seemed that everyone was focusing on the battle of attacks, defenses and counter-accusations between Google and Bing. But have we all missed out a very important point here?

With these so-called synthetic queries, Google is displaying its ability and willingness to match specific search results to specific search terms, even if they are entirely unrelated. What then is to stop Google from manually overriding its own ranking algorithm whenever it likes?

This is definite food for thought. Though Google operates with the ethos of “Don’t be evil”, with this news we still have to wonder: What is stopping the world’s largest search engine from placing whatever website they want in position #1 for whatever search term they want?

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2 Comments

  1. Chris Reply

    Google has been doing this for years. In the search industry it’s a Google “hand job”.

    ; )

    I’m not sure when it was publicly recognised as being done, but I feel like it was sometime around 2005 or 2006.

    Obviously Google aspires to do everything algorithmically but obviously that’s not possible when so many people see value in gaming the system.

  2. Stephanie Luk Reply

    Thanks for the input Chris :)

    Lets just hope Google can keep doing everything algorithimically, and stay ethical!

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