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Google rattled by Bing? Pull the other one

Internet & BroadbandIf the US newspaper New York Post is to be believed, Microsoft Bing has got Google on the run. The paper's recent "Fear grips Google" story certainly got some attention, if only for its over-the-top headline.

According to 'insider sources' the Post conveniently declines to describe, let alone identify, "Google's Sergey Brin is so rattled by the launch of Microsoft's rival search engine that he has assembled a team of top engineers to work on urgent upgrades to his web service."

Well, duh. If Google weren't paying attention to Bing, it wouldn't be Google. But "rattled"? Please. When you own 60 to 80 percent of the search market, depending on who's counting, I don't think a 2 point percentage gain by a distant-third-place competitor is worth pulling the covers up over your head at night.

(Although I have to admit that Hannibal Lecterish graphic the Post ran of Ballmer is frightening. He looks like he's about to bite Larry Page on the face. I'm gripped with fear just looking at it.)

SearchEngineLand's Greg Sterling has a somewhat saner take on what's probably happening over at the Googleplex:

"Bing is probably better than Google anticipated, and early indications are favourable in terms of user adoption - but not on any scale to threaten Google's position. I wouldn't be surprised if Google is taking Bing seriously and trying to carefully assess its algorithm."

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My take is that this is Rupert Murdoch's way of jabbing his poison pen into Google, which newspaper publishers have loudly (though somewhat inaccurately) blamed for the demise of their industry. Or maybe he sees it as a competitor to MySpace, or maybe it's just because Al Gore is on their board, and we all know how Rupe feels about green pinkos (or is that pink greenos?). In any case, it's a hit piece, and it's not the first one the Murdochians have aimed at Google.

Like, for example, "Google strokes porn guy" (April 2007), "Google scares Senate" (September 2007), and "Google glitch causes surfers to reap pages of fear" (February 2009). Thank you, Google's Matt Cutts, for digging up those gems.

As Download Squad's Lee Michael puts it: "Oh God, please get the New York Post out of my tech news."

Incidentally, there's no truth to the rumour that Sergey Brin has locked himself in a conference room with explosives and half a dozen of his top coders, vowing to either out-Bing Bing or blow himself up.

See also:

Microsoft Bing review

Is Microsoft Bing worth a fling?

Microsoft Bing: close but no cigar

Microsoft Bing versus Google & Yahoo

InfoWorld

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