Earlier this month we had Microsoft get caught with its hands in Google's Cookie jar. When some had suggested that Bing might be just scraping Google results to help their search results, Microsoft loudly decried "No we do not!". I'll quote from "Setting the record straight":
We do not copy results from any of our competitors. Period. Full stop. We have some of the best minds in the world at work on search quality and relevance, and for a competitor to accuse any one of these people of such activity is just insulting.
Given that Google proved that Microsoft DOES copy Google results and that that blog actually admits it while still trying to deny it, it's amazing that they haven't just taken that nonsense down, but it is still there for you to read if you haven't yet.
Google did a "honeypot" attack. That is, they manually inserted fake results for gibberish searches, had some of their engineers try that gibberish at home, and, sure enough, a month later you could type that same gibberish into Bing and get the same fake results. Bada-bing, Microsoft, Bada-bing.
See the whole thing at Matt Cutts Blog. You don't really need to watch all of the video unless you like to hear pathetic excuses from someone caught red-handed stealing from their competitor.
Honestly, I might not have even noticed if I hadn't been doing some writing at HubPages, which may or may not be one of the sites Googles new algorithm has targeted. I say "may or may not" because some writers there are screaming bloody blue murder because their earnings have dropped out of site, while others are shaking their heads and saying they see no problem at all.
Google may be fine tuning their algorithm. The folks screaming now may be smiling again come Tuesday or the folks who saw no change may wake up then to find they are diminished also. All that remains to be seen as i write this, but the important thing is that Google IS taking definite action to improve search results.
There is no doubt that Google will always be imperfect. Sometimes they will reward the undeserving and sometimes they will punish content that should have had top billing. Computer algorithms will do that. The important thing is that they are no longer ignoring the problem: they are taking action.
But do understand this: Google only cares if we care. The only reason they want quality results is so that you and I don't defect to Bing or Blekko or Wolfram. I have no illusions about that: this was triggered by inroads that other search engines are making and not by any purity of search ideals.
Still, I'm happy to see it. I don't know yet if it hurts or helps me, but that will be whatever it is. The action is right regardless.
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