Recently, Google and Bing have been feeding off each other's design work. Well, let's say Google has been feeding off of Bing. The New York Times, among other publications, have been in turn feeding off the "Search Engine Wars."
Case in point: Google "lifted" the idea for the left-navigation of results from Microsoft's Bing a few months ago. My question is: is this so bad? I think this kind of derivative one-upmanship is at the core of the growth of the Web - everybody uses everybody else as a stepping stone to get where they want to go.
In the case of the Internet, that kind of strategy advances the collective user experience of the Web, provided the features and design used represent a good user experience.