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Google Has Bigger Fears Than Bing

Google co-founder Sergey Brin, as The New York Post, tells it, is "so rattled by the launch of Microsoft's rival search engine that he has assembled a team of top engineers to work on urgent upgrades to his Web service."
Google co-founder Sergey Brin, as The New York Post, tells it, is "so rattled by the launch of Microsoft's rival search engine that he has assembled a team of top engineers to work on urgent upgrades to his Web service."That's a bit over the top. Without doubt Google is paying attention to Bing, as it did with Microsoft's previous entries into the search engine business, MSN Search and Windows Live Search. Whenever a company spends $100 million on advertising, as Microsoft plans to do to promote Bing, you pretty much have to pay attention.

But Google employees aren't exactly running for the lifeboats because Bing showed up on the horizon. In a comment on Twitter, Matt Cutts, Google's head of Web spam, said he chuckled at the headline "Fear Grips Google" and proceeded to cite similarly sensationalistic coverage from The New York Post.

Google's official response was more measured: "We welcome competition that helps deliver useful information to users and expands user choice," said a Google spokesperson via e-mail. "Having great competitors is a huge benefit to us and everyone in the search space -- it makes us all work harder, and at the end of the day our users benefit from that."

The fear that grips Google has nothing to do with Bing. It has to do with the possibility that the Department of Justice may file an antitrust lawsuit against Google.

The fact is that Google would probably be happy to lose a few points of search market share to Bing if it meant the government would back down.