Fun with Search Engines (Revisited)

Several months ago I wrote a blog that was titled "Fun with Search Engines (Bing versus [other])," where I described how I had used the Bing Search API and Microsoft's Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2006 to trick users on my home network into using a website that looked and acted like a Big Search Engine That's Not Bing (BSETNB) even though it was secretly using Bing under the hood. If you had read my earlier blog you would have known that I did this as a test to see if anyone would detect any differences, and oddly enough no one actually noticed.

Now I need to talk about one of my wife's siblings, but I don't want to name any names, so let's call this person Ann D. just so we have a name to use for this blog.

Anyway, Ann D. had read my blog when I published it and thought that it was pretty funny at the time. Skipping ahead several months, Ann D. came to visit for a few days recently, and Ann D. refused to use any search engine but BSETNB. So I decided that it was time to redeploy my BSETNB lookalike website while Ann D. was visiting.

As with my previous experiment, I would notice that Ann D. was using the BSETNB search page (which was secretly my search page) and I would ask, "Why don't you try Bing?" Ann D. would always remark that the BSETNB search page was better than Bing and blah, blah, blah... but all the while I realized that Ann D. was really using Bing.

After a few days it was time for Ann D. to go home, so I decided to let Ann D. know that I'd been redirecting all of the BSETNB search requests for the past several days to my website, so all the time that Ann D. thought the search results were coming from BSETNB they were really coming from Bing.

Ann D. reacted a lot like my wife did when I tried this experiment before - Ann D.'s feathers were a little ruffled at first. Then Ann D. said that my search page hadn't suggested alternative spellings (which is a feature that I admit that I had missed) so Ann D. claimed to have known all along.

So in retrospect, I'd like to say this to Ann D. with all sincerity, "Yeah - sure you did. :-P"


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