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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

June 8, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Google and Bing search fight gets passive aggressive

The honey slinging between Bing and Google got passive aggressive this week at the search conference SMX this week in Seattle.

Bing announced an update called “Honey Badger,” a passive aggressive reference to the sting operation Google did on Bing earlier this year. Google said the sting operation, code named “honey pot,” showed Microsoft was plagiarizing Google’s search results.

In February, engineers from both companies went at it in a public cat fight on stage at a San Francisco conference. Here is our story on the bickering and Google’s “honey pot” sting.

SMX did not put Bing and Google on stage simultaneously this week. Google talked Tuesday night and Bing talked Wednesday morning.

This morning, Bing director Stefan Weitz gave a keynote speech at SMX about Honey Badger. The release itself is targeted at webmasters, but the name is an obvious swipe at Google’s “honey pot.”

Weitz said update is named after the honey badger in a YouTube video that has been watched 8 million times. “You know the honey badger is fierce,” Weitz said. “He is trying to achieve his singular objective, which is to eat honey. The team of Honey Badger is relentlessly focused on building better tools for you.”

Google’s principal engineer Matt Cutts spoke Tuesday night about a search update code named the peaceful Panda, designed to reduce the amount of spam websites that turn up in Google search results. Cutts was one of the engineers on stage in the February brouhaha.

He made a sideways reference to the sting operation. Danny Sullivan, editor of SearchEngineLand.com, asked all the Google employees in the audience to raise their hand at the Wednesday session. Cutts told them not to identify themselves publicly.

“They can go to a booth here and say I want to buy a linkage at your site” and the people at the booth wouldn’t know they worked at Google, Cutts said. “I used to be able to do that but now everybody knows my face and I can’t. It’s a ‘sting operation.’ ”

Sullivan, who originally broke the story about the Google sting, then joked, “We would never have a sting operation at Google.”

Here is the honey badger video from YouTube that Bing named its release after. Before you click play, be forewarned that there are swear words in the video.

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