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  1. Google vs. Bing: Which Santa Are You Following This Year?

    For years,  North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has used Google Maps to operate its vaunted Santa-tracking software, a holiday tradition for nerds of all stripes, as well as their often equally nerdy kids. This year, though, NORAD unexpectedly bailed on Google, switching to Bing to help it map Santa's trek around the world and ensure he doesn't get up to any shenanigans while he's in American airspace. Not to be outdone, the spurned tech giant has launched its own platform for keeping tabs on St. Nick's travels. These dueling platforms, though, leave us with a dilemma -- which tracker is showing us the real Santa? And perhaps more importantly -- what is that impostor Claus up to? Nothing good, you can be sure of that.

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  2. Bing It On Again: People Chose Bing Results Nearly 2 to 1 Over Google

    Statistics are always somewhat questionable. The data gathered always depends on the size of the sample, what kind of conditions it was collected under, and all that. Bias is notoriously difficult to remove. That's why it's not surprising to find out that Microsoft's "Bing It On" challenge has now churned up the conclusion that users prefer Bing's search results at a ratio of "nearly" 2 to 1 compared to Google's. It's more complicated than that, though.

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  3. Google Without Google, Replacement Google Are What Search Looks Like On Parallel Earths, Maybe

    Considering how much of our lives most of us spend on Google or Google products at this point, we can safely be forgiven if they occasionally get a little boring. After all, the company basically owns the rights to all of our souls, diary contents, and first born children. What, you never read your user agreement? It's a little much to ask that we find their products entertaining as well. Today sees two excellent riffs on everybody's favorite search engine*, the NFL-tweaking Replacement Google and the uber-minimalist Google Without Google.

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  4. Microsoft "Accidentally" Leaks New Social Service Tulalip

    Last night, the good folks over at Fusible happened to notice that Microsof was the proud owner of the domain name. To their surprise, they also discovered that Microsoft had published content relating to a hither-to unheard of project called Tulalip on the site. Tulalip, which Fusbile reports is the name of a Native American group in the region of Microsoft's HQ, appears to be a social aspect to accompany the Bing search engine. Though the site was nonfunctional, it's worth noting that "Find" and "Share" are capitalized, suggesting that these would be the core functions of Tulalip. It's also worth noting that Google+ is not fully integrated into Google's web search, suggesting that Microsoft might be eyeing that as a niche that needs filling. TechCrunch also points out that the Facebook and Twitter sign-in buttons adds credence to the theory that, if it exists, Tulalip isn't a new network, just a new service for Bing. Whether this is a real slip up, a real project, or just an attempt to steal the limelight back from Google+ remains to be seen. Unfortunately, the site is currently down. However, it's been replaced by an even more teasing message:
    Thanks for stopping by. is an internal design project from a team in Microsoft Research which was mistakenly published to the web. We didn’t mean to, honest.
    Just what the hell is going on in Redmond? (via Slashdot)

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  5. Microsoft Teams with RIM, Brings Bing to BlackBerry

    At Research in Motion (RIM)'s BlackBerry World conference today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the beginning of a new, significant partnership between the two companies. Ballmer said that Microsoft will "invest uniquely" in forthcoming RIM devices by baking in Bing search and location functionality at the operating system level. From now on, Bing will be the default search engine in the BlackBerry web browser. Users will be able to change this setting, but Bing will likely expect to see a boost in user base from those satisfied with its performance, or just uninteresting in changing the devices settings. Additionally, Bing will be the default location app for new BlackBerries shipped to mobile carriers. This part of the deal has a major caveat, as the mobile carriers can sign separate deals with Google and supplant the Bing support.

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  6. Google Cracking Down on Android Fragmentation

    Android may be free, wondrous, radical in its business model, and more open than Apple's iOS, but it's still something that Google owns, doggone it, and if reports are to be believed, Google has recently initiated a crackdown on the very real problem of Android fragmentation. According to BusinessWeek, this has prompted Google to contact "about a dozen executives working at key companies in the Android ecosystem ... includ[ing] LG, Toshiba, Samsung, and even Facebook, which has been trying to develop an Android device." Google's message: Whereas it was more willing to be experimental and let its partners tinker in Android's early days, now that Android is a more mature platform -- it currently leads the smartphone operating system market with a 31 percent market share -- Google wants to more strictly implement quality control. But of course, "quality control" and "non-fragmentation" are subjective, and opponents of the new regime say Google is interpreting these terms to its own benefit.

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  7. Stephen Colbert Weighs in on Bing-Google Spat

    We normally leave the Stephen Colbert coverage to our sister site Mediaite, but it so happens that on last night's Colbert Report, he entered the fray of what's been one of the most contentious debates in tech this week: Whether or not Bing is crossing the line in indirectly using Google's search results as signals for improving its own. [Ed: Bing is currently an advertiser on Geekosystem and other Abrams Media sites.] Whereas Googlers like Matt Cutts charge that Bing was "targeting Google deliberately" and that Google's sting proves this conclusively, Bing defenders downplay the significance of Google results to Bing's algorithm and say that Google's sting was flawed in its methodology. Daniel Eran Dilger writes that Google is "hypocritical" for "claiming to be wronged by the reuse of the information it makes publicly available" when it has greatly benefitted from the same in the past. Colbert, for his part, definitely comes across as pro-Google, despite his show's relationship with Bing (he claims that every time his bell rings on the Report, it's [obviously] making a "Bing" sound). Colbert: "For the first time ever, someone’s search history has been busted for something other than porn." (via TC)

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  8. Google Accuses Bing of Copying Search Results [Update]

    Over at Search Engine Land, blogger Danny Sullivan has the scoop on a pattern in Bing search results which, Google alleges, shows that Microsoft's rival search engine is piggybacking off of Google's search results. [Bing is currently an advertiser on Geekosystem and other Abrams Media sites.] The full, nitty-gritty details are available on Sullivan's site, but in short, Google thinks that Microsoft is using search tools associated with its Internet Explorer browser to peek at users' search behavior on Google, then effectively copying what they choose to click on. In an attempt to "sting" Bing, Google manually created 100 sets of search results for nonsense queries like "hiybbprqag" and "mbzrxpgjys"; for between seven and nine of those queries, Google found that Bing displayed the same results, which suggested that Bing was copying off Google's answer sheet.

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  9. Introducing: The Bing Search Box [Sponsored Content]

    Geekosystem readers may have noticed that beginning today, a Bing search box now appears at the bottom of each post. What is it, exactly?

    Here's the deal: After Geekosystem's crackerjack reports on, say, robots, World of Warcraft, or Rickrolling pranks have fired up your interests in those subjects, you can use the Bing tool to search for more. Depending on what you're looking for, you can toggle between video, web, and image search, allowing you to take advantage of Bing's nifty multimedia search as well as more traditional web search.

    Please try it out!

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  10. Bing and Facebook Team Up to Display Social Search Results

    At an event earlier today, Facebook teamed up with Microsoft and announced that Microsoft's search engine, Bing, will now be able to display social search results, which are search results that relate themselves to Facebook user data. When a user searches with Bing, it will attempt to connect to said user's Facebook account, gather various bits of data, then attempt to relate the data to the search results via a Facebook module that will travel up and down the search page based on Bing's ranking algorithms.

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  11. The New Google Images Is Here

    At a press conference in San Francisco today, Google has introduced the world to its new image search redesign. The new Google Images -- which hasn't yet been widely rolled out as of this post, although it should manifest itself for all soon enough -- boasts as its greatest improvement the so-called "infinite scroll," which means that new images instantly load as users scroll down without the need for a page reload, allowing for as many as 1,000 images per page. Text no longer appears unless you click on an image on the scroll, in which case the image zooms and its metadata becomes visible.

    As many have pointed out, the new Google images looks sorta like Bing:

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  12. Microsoft Zings Google Over Suspiciously Bing-y Backgrounds

    Last week, Google allowed users to set custom backgrounds on the Google frontpage for the first time, in a move that was more-or-less well-received, though many saw in it a hint of Bing imitation. But while people may enjoy choice, they tend not to like forced defaults: Today, Google is putting backgrounds on its homepage by default for 24 hours, and user response has largely been negative. A quick Twitter Sentiment analysis (using what is unfortunately a rather small sample size) reveals that of the people who have Tweeted about today's Google background experiment, 86% have conveyed negative sentiments versus only 14% who have conveyed positive sentiments. Let's just hope this doesn't lead to any tech support calls.

    But customers aren't the only ones who've not exactly cozied up to Google's background experiment: several Microsoft personnel have zinged Google for its Bing-like background choices with various degrees of wit and annoyance.

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