I still don’t buy that Google is “gripped with fear“, but I agree with Danny Sullivan’s analysis that Google’s new “Explore Google Search” page (with a link in the usually sacrosanct real estate on the home page) is a reaction to Microsoft’s campaign to market Bing. I’d be curious to know what fraction of Google’s users are aware of the features Google enumerates on that page–perhaps users will actually benefit from the education. But more likely Google is simply disgruntled to see Microsoft getting press for an allegedly different approach that, in most cases, looks a lot like what Google (and, as Sullivan points out, Yahoo) already does.
I’d like to see competition over actual innovation, rather than over perceived innovation through marketing. I suppose I can’t blame Google for tooting its own horn. But the timing does make Google look a bit defensive–or at least reactive. I’m sure it at least put smiles on the faces of the Bing team to have drawn out a reaction.