Why Google might want you to think it's scared of Bing

Is it just possible that Google might be rather attracted to the idea of spreading the thought that Bing is a serious rival? Might that actually improve Google's image?

So the Googlies are, allegedly, gnashing and wailing.

Their ears, their nostrils, even their fully formed eyebrows are twitching beyond all human control.

Though I am not one of those who necessarily subscribes to the idea that Googlies ever have extreme emotions, the rumor is that they are in a fizzy tizzy. Because of Bing, the new search fragrance from Microsoft.

According to a report , Google's Sergey Brin has ordered some of his finest brains to take Bing apart as if it were a secretly smuggled advance exemplar of the Palm Pre.

He wants to know how it thinks. He wants to know who its friends are. He wants its very innards examined for performance-enhancing algorithms.

I would very much like to believe this story. Mainly because I want the word "Bing" to become part of the language, but also because Bing seems like a rather fine product.

Yes, Binging is an epidemic that is sweeping the world. CC Web Ranking Pictures/Flickr

However, a small part of me, somewhere between my spleen and my liver, is sending a warning signal. You see, last Christmas I read the highly amusing Michael Wolff biography of Rupert Murdoch.

In it, Wolff describes how Murdoch's wife, Wendi Deng, encouraged him to hang with a younger crowd. You know, some of the folks that might just decimate the newspaper industry as we know it. Folks such as Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

So perhaps that place between my spleen and liver has been aroused by the fact that the newspaper that broke the "Google is blinging scared" story was Murdoch's own, and very much beloved, New York Post.

Of course it's possible that someone at Google was trembling so much that he spilled his tale of fear to a friend at the New York Post.

However, when you're perceived as being a little bit of a, well, monopoly, isn't it nice to occasionally bathe in the idea that there is a serious threat to your throne and your, um, pension? Might you just be tempted to find a nicely engineered way of slipping that story out there just to improve the way you are regarded?

It's a little like movies of the last 15 years or so in which the male protagonist has to show his vulnerable side to get the girl.

Because he sheds a tear or two and visits a psychologist to talk about his mama, we end up thinking his belching, slobbering, swilling, snorting, slightly uncouth persona was all actually rather charming.

He does get the girl, though. And that, for him, is really all that matters.

 

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