Ladies and gentlemen, the gloves are off.  On Tuesday, February 1, Google released a statement accusing Bing of cheating off of Google’s search results algorithm.  In an article first reported at Search Engine Land by Danny Sullivan, Google announced that after running a series of carefully rigged search queries, it found that Bing was simply copying Google results in places where Bing’s algorithm fell through.  Since the initial statement, both Bing and Google have exchanged heated words, and the issue is far from resolved.  But the arguments aren’t reserved for the search engine giants: this situation has had user opinions all over the board.  Who looks worse in this situation – Bing or Google?  What does this say about search engine fairness in a two-party system? If Bing did actually copy from Google, is what they did illegal?  Stay tuned, because this isn’t over yet!

According to the Inside Adwords Blog, location extensions in Google has undergone an overhaul. Now, ads with location extensions will show on the place search map as a blue pin. So, if your ad is relevant to the search query and would show above the place map in a normal search, it will be shown with a blue pin directly underneath in the place results. The Adwords blog goes on to say that Google has been experimenting with many different formats for place search, and although this is what they deem will work best now, other overhauls in the future may still take place.

…The AdWords team didn’t stop there. Starting today and continuing over the next few weeks, Google announced the addition of city targeting in 17 new countries to help you reach local consumers more efficiently. Essentially, this allows for campaign targeting at an even more granular level in order to optimize your account and achieve a better ROI. The new countries with these targeting features include Argentina, Brazil and China, along with many others. This brings Google’s grand total to 34 countries! If you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out the article from the AdWords team for the complete story.

Good news for mobile search advertisers!  With all of these new fancy phones, it was only a matter of time until companies found a way to make advertising on them profitable.  According to Rob Young of Search Engine Journal, Google recently reported that they are seeing millions of calls each month with the Click-to-Call option. To use click-to-call, an advertiser opts in and adds a phone extension to their ad, allowing the user to call the company and find out more about the ad they just viewed.  Young also explains that Google has released the call only version which appeals to those without a full website.

Google, Google, Google! On Thursday, Google announced it will start displaying longer headlines for certain ads on the SERPs. Google has been testing these alternate ad forms and found that those in the new formatting tend to bring in a higher click-through-rate. Read Pamela Parker’s post on Search Engine Land to get the details about which ads will be shown in the new format, as well as see examples of the alternate ads (if you haven’t noticed them on the SERPs already!).