Essentially the company caught Microsoft's little-search-engine-that-could, Bing, copying Google's search results and seeing what Google users search for, then using that info to improve its own search engine.
Google says Microsoft is a bunch of cheater-cheater-pumpkin-eaters.
Microsoft says wake us up when Google's done whining.
One of the chief examples being bandied about is this one involving the obscure medical procedure tarsorrhaphy.
In both search-engine test cases, the term was misspelled. But while Google noted the mistake and the corrected term, Bing just showed the corrected term--meaning that obviously the engine's own spell-checker wasn't catching it, but instead was just using Google's corrected results as its own.
Scandalous! And at least one Google engineer is crying foul:
"I've spent my career in pursuit of a good search engine," says Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow who oversees the search engine's ranking algorithm. "I've got no problem with a competitor developing an innovative algorithm. But copying is not innovation, in my book."
"Boo hoo," says Bing Director Stefan Weitz:
As you might imagine, we use multiple signals and approaches when we think about ranking, but like the rest of the players in this industry, we're not going to go deep and detailed in how we do it. Clearly, the overarching goal is to do a better job determining the intent of the search, so we can guess at the best and most relevant answer to a given query.
Here's how the Bing Sting worked:
So why should anyone care?
Well, Google's point is that Microsoft is piggybacking off its hard-earned technology. Microsoft's point is "So what, it makes us have a better product."
UPDATE: After initially brushing off the accusations with what passed as a "who cares," Microsoft VP Harry Shum is now saying that Google's finger-pointing is a "spy-novelesque stunt to generate extreme outliers."
And everyone else's point is "Wait, so how does this work again?"