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Microsoft, Google swap April Fools' barbs

Rankling each other is nothing new, but the two tech rivals clearly saved some special jabs for today.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Microsoft and Google have both gotten in some April Fools' Day zingers against each other.

The two competitors often trade insults about each other's respective search engines, online office suites, and other products. But April Fools' Day inspired them to create a couple of full-blown Web pages to make fun of each other.

Microsoft laid its prank at its Bing search engine.

Surf to Bing and type Google in the search field. A Bing page pops up spoofing Google's pure white and stark home page. Hovering over the small boxes that populate the Bing page displays tips that take a few more swipes at Google.

One tip asks if you're having trouble seeing this picture of an arctic fox eating marshmallows in a snowstorm. A second one says that when there's nothing else to look at, you may take drastic measures. Clicking on that tip brings up a Bing video results page of watching paint dry. And a third tip says that if blank space is your thing, you could go low tech. That tip displays a Bing images results page of plain white paper.

Even the familiar "I'm feeling lucky" button has been replaced by an "I'm feeling confused" button that takes you to a Bing blog touting the benefits of Microsoft's search engine.

And what fun Google is having at Microsoft's expense? The search giant has concocted a page about a product called Gmail Blue, a dig at Microsoft's upcoming Windows Blue update and Windows 8 in general.

YouTube/Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

A spoof video for Gmail Blue features a straight-faced "Gmail Blue project manager" who says that "in trying to bring e-mail into the 21st century, we are faced with a challenge: how we do completely redesign and recreate something while keeping it exactly the same? The answer is Gmail Blue."

Touting the new e-mail program's reliance on blue fonts, blue colors, and blue buttons, the project manager says that "it's Gmail, only bluer." The Gmail team claim that inspiration for Blue came from nature but is "better than what nature created."

Given the testy relationship between Microsoft and Google, their April Fools' pranks could have easily been more vicious. But in keeping with the spirit of the day, I think the companies poked a few holes in each other without doing any permanent damage.

(Via The Verge)