Plagiarism: to copy, duplicate, alter or adapt the work of someone else and claim it as you own.
Microsoft: a software company running scared of Google and that is being accused by it of committing the above.
This is priceless. Google, with it's many tentacles so deep into most of the crevices and orifices on the face and nether regions of the planet that it is often surprised to find that it is touching itself up, is accusing hated arch-rival Microsoft of copying its Internet search results and re-presenting them as its own on the Bing search engine. Martyn Warwick reports.
Yesterday, Google, so puffed up with theatrical outrage to make a pouter pigeon look positively emaciated, released the results of various "tests" it had run to prove that Bing has been plagiarising Google's search results.
Google's trap wasn't all that sophisticated, the company merely posted a wodge of fake results on its search algorithm as a response to a series of what were, basically, incoherent queries. It then sat back and waited. And sure enough, when the same queries were later addressed to the Bing search engine, exactly the same ersatz results were displayed.
Co-incidence? I think not and so does Google.
Commenting on the accusations of plagiarism, Matt Cutts, Google's head of search quality (and we could argue about the mutual exclusivity of those two words in relation to a Google job title) said Microsoft has been capturing data about Google searches via its Internet Explorer 8 browser and toolbar. This transmits 'clicks' back to Microsoft when users accept the default settings on the Explorer software.
In other words, Microsoft knows where you 'opt-inners' live and is logging your browsing practices.
Matt Cutts opined that Microsoft's covert actions are "crazy" and publicly challenged Microsoft to come clean about the amount of data it is collecting from Google users and how much of such sneakily gained information is being used to determine results on Bing.
Seemingly caught bang to rights, Microsoft immediately invoked the Hosni Mubarak Autoresponse to trouble and refused to apologise or even accept that it might have been doing something deeply dodgy.
Indeed, even though Microsoft tacitly admitted the veracity of Google's allegations it qualified the admission by adding that they are based on what it calls "a few outlier examples" - what ever that means. And anyway, isn't there a spelling mistake in "outlier"?
Following the brief mea culpa Microsoft fell back on its oldest ploy and went on the offensive, accusing Google of cooking-up a "spy-novelesque stunt", (Oh God, I wish they'd learn to speak English in Redmond) and saying that agglomerating information about the way people use Google helps Microsoft to 'refine' help its Bing service by reflecting 'general practice' on the web, "where Internet services learn from wider online behaviour."
Harry Shrum, the man running Microsoft’s search service, said. “It’s not like we actually copy anything. We are learning from the data that customers share with us. The reason the web works is down to collective intelligence.” Yeah, right.
I think then I should leave it to DM & Jemini, members of a modern beat combo, to have the last word. They do it better and so much more rhythmically than me. In a track called "Copycats" available on their seminal 2003 opus "Ghetto Pop Life" Mr. Danger Mouse and Mr. Jemini 'sing';
"Time and time again, dawg, I be usin' them
Confusin' em, copy cats, verbally abusin' them
Still losin' em, too much of that bullshit be amusin' em."
And me, and hopefully you too.
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