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Why is Google copying Bing so much?

If you have been paying attention to what Google has been doing as of late to improve its user experience, you might be noticing something strange. It seems that almost every time that Google makes an improvement in its aesthetic appeal, it looks more and more like Bing. Remember the short-lived attempt to customize the Google home page recently which has since been removed?

Bing trying to challenge Google

Image by michperu via Flickr

Take the latest change to hit the search engine, which is its presentation of image search results. Here is the old look for Google image search results:
Old Google Image Search.jpg
Here is the new look:
New Google Search.jpg
You also no longer have to click through pages of results as they are now all on one page, although page numbers are assigned to show page breaks.
Now here’s Bing’s image search. A little more white space in Bing, but essentially the same look and feel:
bing search.jpg
In addition, Google is copying Bing’s use of a mouse-over expansion of each image to give some details about the image.
All in all, I just find it interesting that while Google is the far superior engine in market share AND results, it is playing catch-up with Bing in how it presents itself. It’s not the end of the world, but it does seem like a hat-tip from Google to Microsoft, which is just not natural.
What’s your take?

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