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Many here have pointed out they are mostly garbage. We're these planned to be integrated all along, or were they integrated as a reaction to Bing?
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Come on... Was this designed and planned well in advance, or was it a reaction to Bing being way 'cooler' than Google... (I have an idea Bing may be 'the choice of a new generation'(or one of them), because I actually didn't use it until a high school student said they tried searching for something on Bing and Google like it was expected for them to use both.)
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Sounds like the use of some technology Microsoft developed I read about not too long ago, but don't remember where to cite the source. (Maybe someone else can shed some light on what it is. It had to do with Micorsoft's SilverLight technology.)
Long-term plan, or as Brett says, Bing Envy IOW a knee-jerk reaction?
People are against behavioral ad targeting, do they really think people want what are essentially behavioral search results by default?
Honestly, I think Google's started reacting rather than leading to some degree, because they're are definitely getting 'out cooled' by Bing just about every step of the way...
And what's even more interesting to me is they're not being chased by some start-up or someone they can buy out. They're being hounded and chased for market share by a company that crushes them in annual revenue and already has a worldwide user base, so I think they're going to have to keep doing it to keep up with the revenue pace they've set for themselves, because there's not much room for Google to go anywhere, except down...
Matt Cutts used to say when he asked people what they liked about Google they often said it was simple and easy to use... Maybe he should have been asking what they liked about the competition instead?
2010 could be an interesting year in the search market, me thinks.
Let's not forget that we webmasters exist because of search engines as well. Our sites need to be found somehow correct?
Google, these days, is not a search engine. They are an advertising company.