SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Microsoft has launched a new ad campaign comparing their search engine, Bing, to Google. Microsoft is saying they should avoid being “Scroogled” by their competitor’s paid ad results when searching for holiday deals.

One difference is if you go to Google Shopping (not and type in a search, you’ll actually get sponsored results. They’ll tell you that up-front, although it’s in the fine print. Essentially these are companies that have a business relationship with Google. It’s not an agnostic search. I would liken it to how an advertisement differs from an editorial.

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Bing argues that their search results are based purely on relevance and are not paid. Furthermore they claim that Google’s shopping search results are biased. I would agree to the extent that yes they are, in the sense that they’re paid ads.

Now there are advantages to paid ads, you shouldn’t completely dismiss them. Presumably the companies have been vetted to some extent. I don’t know that for a fact, but at least the business relationship is in place. Consumers should be aware and I recommend they check into both search engines when doing their online shopping.

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