Google has busted Microsoft Bing for copying its search results.
Here’s the thing: This is an embarrassment for Microsoft, but it’s actually pretty smart.
Yes, it’s just the latest case of “oh, man, Microsoft can’t come up with anything on its own, can it?”
Yes, it’s embarrassing how Microsoft got caught — by copying Google’s search results for bogus, made-up words, like “hiybbprqag.”
Yes, it’s even more humiliating knowing that Microsoft burns about half a billion dollars a quarter on Bing, only to find out that some of that “investment” is developing the “copy Google” part of the algorithm.
But it’s actually not stupid.
Because, let’s admit it, everyone copies everyone. So if you’re going to copy, at least copy the best, no?
It’s not like no one at Google ever brought an iPhone to the Android engineers and said, “OK, make this.”
It’s not like Apple didn’t basically copy the Kindle store and rip off the “Delicious Library” design when it made the iBooks app.
It’s not like Facebook isn’t copying every good startup in Silicon Valley right now.
Perhaps the reason that this is a big deal is because Microsoft isn’t doing much to build and innovate on top of Google’s work — it’s just doing a straight-up rip-off.
That is a little embarrassing.
But if it actually helps make Bing a better search engine, then it’s brilliant.
Most of Bing’s users will never read any of these articles, and frankly don’t care where Microsoft gets its search results from. As long as they find what they’re looking for. And that’s what Microsoft should care about the most.