Would Anyone Notice if Google Wasn't Any Good?
"640K ought to be enough for anybody."
When you really think about it, the measure of whether something is good or bad is all relative. Windows 3.1 was good once because the alternative was DOS (which was also good once). 640K of memory (as illustrated by the quote above) was once considered good. I have to think that sometime, somewhere, even the abomination known as COBOL was considered good.
- Bill Gates, Microsoft founder
Five years ago or maybe even more, Google was so many light-years ahead of any of the other search engines that they rocketed to number one and became the defacto search engine for any serious Internet user.
According to Hitwise.com, Google accounted for 68% of all Internet searches in May of 2008. Essentially if you can't find a site in Google, it might as well not exist. And that's a big potential problem.
I never touch a search engine other than Google and I have to think a lot of people do the same. Why would I? At one point, Google was so much better than any other search engine that it was an exercise in futility to use anything else. Now? I have no idea. If I do a search for something and I don't find a result I like, I typically just give up assuming that there isn't anything better out there. If it's not on Google, it must not be.
That's a bad attitude when it comes to using a search engine. We shouldn't be content with the current solution, assuming that because it was the best in the past, it is still the best today. The best bet, and one that I intend to start trying, is to see how the other search engines work. A lot of smart people have been employed to improve searching, from Microsoft to Yahoo to the return of human-powered search at Mahalo. Maybe they're no better than Google, but if we don't give them a shot and continue to give them shots, we'll never know.
This article has been view 444 times.