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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Googling Google gets you...Microsoft

I have a quick assignment for you. Go to Google. Type "search." Hit "I'm Feeling Lucky."

(No, really, do it. I'll wait.)

Back? It's amusing--and more than a little ironic--that Google's algorithm intended to take you to the top search result for "search" does not point to itself, but to Microsoft's Live Search tool, which officially went live last month. It's bound to inspire conspiracy theories, but a Google spokeswoman says it's not a bug or a hack, but a matter of mathematics.

"This is a normal search result," Google said. "Search results change ranking fairly often. At this particular time, this is the result Google's automated technology has determined is the best answer for this specific query; in the future, our algorithms may determine that another website is better suited to be ranked in the first position for this query. We've seen this a number of times over the years that we've operated Google."