As previously reported, Bing's Duane Forrester and Google's Matt Cutts spoke on a panel at SXSW about search rankings, and they didn't even talk about the Google/Bing ordeal when Google accused Bing of copying results, and Bing accused Google of click fraud.
Cutts and Bings' Harry Shum had gotten into something of a heated exchange on the day that story broke, but things seemed much more civil this time around. Elsewhere at SXSW, however, the subject did come up in a WebProNews interview with Bing Director Stefan Weitz.
"I think it's pretty much done," Weitz said of the ordeal. "Here's the thing. It was a strange day for me, honestly. I'll be honest. You wake up, and see that you're copying results."
"I was down in the bay when it happened, so I talked to my engineers up North, and they were really bummed," he said. "Really demoralized a little bit. I said...'what's happening?' We started looking at it, and really what it was at the end was Google proved something that we said we did do anyway, which is look at user-opted-in clickstream data to figure out how to rank results."
"It makes tons of sense," he continued. "We think it's a great way to do it. To say that we're copying was prima facie false frankly. It just isn't academically accurate...but it was a good headline, so good for them."
"But no, look...I think everyone knows in fact they use clickstream data as well. We all use it for different things. It's just one of those things that we're [going] to continue to focus on, 'how do you make the results better for the user?' There are a number of ways to do this. Clickstream data is one of the thousand ways we actually do this."
Google has said bluntly that it "absolutely does not use search activity on other search engines to influence" its search results.
Bing's "thousand" number is also one that Forrester referenced on the panel with Cutts. This compares to Google's "over 200" signals.
"But we're really focusing on that and not so much focusing on 20 engineers sitting around their houses, submitting false click reports to Microsoft over the course of a month," Weitz told WebProNews. "Good espionage. It's a good...I wish I had written a novel. It would've been great...I could've just retired on my novel royalties, but instead, here I am at SXSW doing search."
"At the end, we're all just kind of a bunch of geeks, and everyone across the inudstry actually is just trying to push the envelope as fast and as far, and has responsibly as we can...at the end, we're just a bunch of dorks."
It may be "pretty much done," but Bing has managed to grow its share of the market each month since its launch, and Google still considers Microsoft its main competitor.