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Google 'Scroogling' users with Shopping search results, warns Microsoft

Microsoft is once again going after Google and its search engine, but the software giant is now focusing on Google's shopping results.

Microsoft's Bing team has launched a website, dubbed Scroogled, that takes Google to task for turning its shopping results into a commercial endeavour.

"Google Shopping is nothing more than a list of targeted ads that unsuspecting customers assume are search results," the Bing team said.

In May, Google announced that it would transition its US Google Product Search "to a purely commercial model." The new effort, renamed Google Shopping, has been rolling out throughout the autumn.

"We believe that having a commercial relationship with merchants will encourage them to keep their product information fresh and up to date," Sameer Samat, Google's vice president of product management, said in a blog post. "Higher quality data - whether it's accurate prices, the latest offers or product availability - should mean better shopping results for users, which in turn should create higher quality traffic for merchants."

At the same time, Google said it was experimenting with new ways to display product results on, including larger images and the ability for more granular searches.

"These new formats are clearly labeled 'sponsored,' and take space currently occupied by AdWords," Samat wrote.

Naturally, Redmond thinks Bing is a better option. "We say that when you limit choices and rank them by payment, consumers get Scroogled. For an honest search result, try Bing."

The Scroogled site features large buttons that let users "Try Bing" or "Make Bing your homepage." Microsoft is also asking people to share their "bad search" stories on its Facebook page.

"Google Shopping makes it easier for shoppers to quickly find what they're looking for, compare different products and connect with merchants to make a purchase," Google said in a statement today. "With new 360-degree, interactive product images, social shopping lists and a fast growing inventory of more than a billion products worldwide, Google is a great resource for shoppers to find what they need, at great prices for their loved ones this holiday season."

In September, Microsoft launched the "Bing It On" campaign, which let web users enter a search and see side-by-side comparisons of Bing and Google search results. "Our mission is to show people it's time to break the 'Google habit' and that Bing has reached a quality level that will make it easy to switch," Microsoft said at the time.