'Fear grips Google' ...?

... or, 'How headline writers create news.'

You have to hand it to the tabloid headline writers at the New York Post: They know nothing if not how to turn the tiniest spark into a five-alarm conflagration.

"Fear grips Google," the Post blared on Saturday.

Why? Well, the introduction of Microsoft's much-ballyhooed search engine, Bing, has Google so gobsmacked as to shake company co-founder Sergey Brin from his slumber to lead an internal effort aimed at assessing and countering the threat, according to an anonymous Google "insider."

By Sunday -- and based on little more than the Post's say-so -- a CNET headline asks:  "Does Microsoft's Bing have Google running scared?"

See? "Fear grips Google."

And this morning we have a merry band of copycats (mostly) numbering nearly 100.

Did you hear me? "FEAR GRIPS GOOGLE!"

But what did the Post's unnamed source actually say? Here's the heart of it:

"New search engines have come and gone in the past 10 years, but Bing seems to be of particular interest to Sergey," said one insider, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The move by Brin is unusual, as it is rare these days for the Google founders to have such hands-on involvement in day-to-day operations at the company, the source added.

So a frontal assault on Google's primary business by the world's largest and most successful software company is "of particular interest to Sergey?"

Get out.

And he's not just interested but has rolled up his sleeves?

That's not even news, never mind "Fear grips Google."

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