Microsoft’s latest marketing campaign for Bing sets it clear: “Drop Google as your primary search engine. Adopt Bing”. And it backs this with substantial proof about misdoings of Google when it tracked users who search through Safari which was later discovered and resulted in the U.S Federal Trade Commission levying a record $22.5 million penalty – the largest fine that the FTC has imposed against a company for violating a previous agreement with the agency!
Google had earlier signed a 20 year agreement pledging not to ‘mislead customers about its privacy practices’ but the sharp eyes of a researcher at Stanford University laid it clear that Google was indeed messing up with the privacy of Safari users. Google immediately withdrew its intrusive technology from Safari after the above findings surfaced but the damage had already been done. FTC slapped a record heavy penalty and Microsoft caught up on this moment, launching a scathing attack, blaming it of betraying its users and almost ‘secretly spying on them’ in order to gain information to target ads for its own profit.
According to this Bing.com/privacy-protection page, “If you are a Safari user, Google may have recently tracked you even though it promised it would not. Want to do something about it? Stop searching with Google and start searching with Bing.”
Adding salt to its wounds, this page sports a ‘Try Bing’ button which directs to search results on Bing with ‘google record ftc fine’ as the query, listing down the various news articles et al about this agreement violation by Google and the subsequent heavy fine imposed on it.
On a personal note, Google sometimes can be bit irritating with targeted ads following you everywhere. One fine day, I randomly search for Business Schools on Google for my MBA and the next day I have three unread emails from various B-Schools regarding their course and admission details (I never signed up for any!), not to forget various B-School ads popping up now and then. I then realized that I was logged in to my Google account, when I conducted those searches…so maybe that was how Google was able to track me.
Good luck, Microsoft. And Google? ‘Once bitten twice shy’, eh!