Google is blasting rival Microsoft for copying its search engine results for use on Microsoft's search service, Bing. Microsoft claims they did nothing wrong and that Google engaged in "a spy-novelesque stunt."
I always like a good media stunt and have been accused of committing a few myself by none other than the Internet giant. Welcome to the club, Googlers.
Seriously, though, Google's protestations are the height of hypocrisy. The company's entire business model is built on using other people's content, usually without bothering to ask permission whether it be your emails, journalists' work or digitized books, to turn a buck. And a very profitable business it has been.
Dig back in history and you'll recall that Google's method of monetizing search came from a company called Overture. They thought they'd been robbed and filed suit. Yahoo acquired Overture and Google ultimately settled the claim out of court.
I don't see how Google executives can possibly keep a straight face and claim to be upset about somebody copying them. Copying is in Google's DNA.
I'm no fan of Microsoft, but it strikes me that they were doing nothing different than any other Silicon Valley company: analyzing a competitor's product and then using what was learned to improve your own.
What is troubling is how they did it. It shows how sneaky all these Internet companies are. Microsoft tracked users' clicks in the tool bar of its Internet Explorer as they used Google's search engine and then factored the information into their Bing search algorithms.
We need Do Not Track Me legislation to prevent the ubiquitous snooping prevalent on the Internet.
According to Mike Swift at the San Jose Mercury News, the donnybrook blew up as some of the top search scientists from Google and Microsoft convened Tuesday morning for a conference sponsored by Microsoft at UC San Francisco.
There's nothing more fun than watching two corporate behemoths bash each other. A pox on both their houses.