Last week we wrote about a panel at the Structure 09 conference featuring technologists from the largest Internet sites, including Google's Vijay Gill and Najam Ahmad from Microsoft. The Register also covered this panel in a story titled Google mocks Bing and the stuff behind it, noting that Gill referenced several data points with the observation that "If you Bing for it, you can find it."
Gill, the Senior Manager of Engineering and Architecture at Google, has blogged a response titled Google Does Not Mock Bing.
"I wasn’t mocking Bing when I said 'Bing for it, you can find it.'" Gill writes. "I meant that seriously, in the spirit of giving props to a competitor, and a good one at that. Najam and I have been friends since before Google had a business plan, and I have the greatest respect for him and for Microsoft as a company." Gill goes on to compare the different infrastructure approaches for the Google and Bing search products.
At the time, Gill's deadpan comments about Bing struck me as good-natured ribbing among rival technologists, with no disrespect intended. It's worth noting that the text of the Register story describes Gill's "sly shots" and that the phrase "mocks" appears only in the headline. (In many news organizations, headlines are written by editors, not reporters).
The Structure 09 event was the second panel in three days in which technologists from Microsoft and Google shared a stage and discussed their operations, following on the heels of a session at Velocity 2009.
We in the media love a good scrap between rivals. But it's also important that industry leaders can get together and share their expertise and opinions, and the joint appearances by technologists from Google, Microsoft and other leading players in the field at last week's conferences marked a step in the right direction.