Bing's banner week: Plugs from Steve Jobs and Google

It's been a great week for Microsoft's Bing. First, Apple CEO Steve Jobs gives Bing a plug. Then Google imitates you.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

If you're the folks behind Microsoft's Bing search engine, it must be one happy morning. Just think of the week Bing has had. On Monday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs gives Bing a plug and makes it a search option on the iPhone. Two days later, Google gives Bing a silent plug by imitating it on the home page.

Go figure. Hell, if these keeps up Microsoft can throttle back on those Bing commercials.

On Wednesday, Google did something extremely curious. It allowed you to add a photo or image as background to your search page. Google explains:

To provide you with an extra bit of inspiration, we‘ve collaborated with several well-known artists, sculptors and photographers to create a gallery of background images you can use to personalize your Google homepage.

Well that's just swell. Now Google.com looks separated at birth from Bing. Toss in other Google features that are also Bing-ish and you have to wonder what's going on here.

Here's Google.

Here's Bing.

Ain't it cute?

Update: Google said in a Tweet that the old all-white home page is returning. Now this could become missive about how Bing envy could hurt Google, but David Gewirtz already did that.

I'm still stunned by Bing's good fortune this week. Google's Bing-fest comes after Jobs gave Bing some props at his WWDC keynote. Now the Jobs plug wasn't that surprising. Apple is at war with Google over mobile ads and would love to cut the search giant out of its ecosystem. Meanwhile, Apple and Microsoft have been frenemies for a long time.

Jefferies analyst Katherine Egbert sums up the frenemy angle:

Although Apple and Microsoft have been arch rivals in the tech industry for several decades, they have formed partnerships over the years when convenient. This started in 1997 when Microsoft invested $150mm into an ailing Apple while pledging to continue to support Internet Explorer and Office on the Mac for 5 years. We believe Google's dominance in online search and newer Android and Chrome initiatives has now given the two tech giants a common target.

And now there's a Bing plug. "We don't know if or how much Microsoft paid for this (iPhone) placement, but we think it's a good move for Microsoft," says Egbert.

Indeed, if Jobs tells his masses to try Bing and they just might. It has been quite a week for Bing.

Editorial standards