Will Google get beaten up?
(Original image from Wikimedia Commons, additional editing by Ed)
The problem now for rival search engines to Google is not just creating an awesome search engine to compete with Google but getting people to leave the 'Google method' of searching.
We're so used to how Google works, what it looks like, the results it gives, that even if Google is sub standard to another search engine, it still gives the results you want 99% of the time, it's simple to use and we trust it. Going to Google, typing in your search, pressing enter, flicking down the results, picking the right one is as second nature as answering your phone when it starts to ring.
Any new search engines hoping to bite into Google's share will have to be so good that people will happily put up with having to learn a new way to search (however slight the changes may be).
For example, when you search in Cuil you get results in 3 columns (or 2) with pictures. Already I'm slightly annoyed at how I'm having to look horizontally and vertically for the results / it doesn't give as long a URL string as Google (just as much as fits and ...) / there's a category search i don't understand / the text is a little smaller / it takes a few fractions of a second longer (probably due to search volume on it's first day).
Now if the search results are significantly better - ie. you find exactly what you are looking for - then Cuil could start to get a fan base from the millions of people who depend upon search engines to do their jobs but will this ever migrate to the majority of all web searchers? Plus for the first few searches I've done there isn't a lot of different between it and the Google, so why move?
Another search engine that's still plodding along is Search Wikia. I'm a big fan and regular contributor to Wikipedia so i have a lot of hope for their user led search engine. I'd like to think that Open Source will always win due to the sheer quantity of contributors. However it's only the recent upgrade last month that's made me even consider that this could start taking search volume from Google.
I'll keep testing all three for like search terms over the next few months and keep a tally of which helps me most. Which will win, well I'll keep an open mind.
Google can't last for ever. The world will run out of electricity at some point.
Visit the sites: Google | Cuil | Wikia Search
Introduction to WolframAlpha search engine (May 09)