How important is Google as a search engine, really?

When viewed in an inertial reference frame, an object either is at rest or moves at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force.

– Newton’s First law

There is some issue with my connection to Google today. And surprisingly(or rather not surprisingly) there seems to be no problem in connecting to Bing. (And actually it is faster than I expected for displaying search result.)

This makes me think about the importance of Google, as a search engine. For all this time, I have been using Google as my default search engine, without wondering why it is default in the first place. Then I realized that the only reason I am not using other search engines like Bing or Yahoo right now is that I am used to Google. I am totally unsure of how Google is better than other search engines. In fact, I know that other search engines have their advantages over Google, for example, Bing gives the answer for gcd function in search whereas Google does not. How exactly does this “default” habit help Google to be the No.1 search engine?

In times of break-down like this, I would not hesitate to switch to an alternative search engine. Afterall, the information that I am looking for is on sites such as Quora, Facebook or Wikipedia, not on Google. It is just a tool for me to get to the destination that I wanted, and when one tool breaks down, why not just take another tool, knowing that it would work equally well?

Perhaps that is reason why Google is spend resources on Android, Google+, YouTube and more recently Google Glass. Being the default search engine now does not guarantee the default search engine forever, in fact, it is hardly the case. What is really needed is an ecosystem that make people depend on Google, not just in terms of searching. People are using Google’s different services, like Gmail and Google Calender because of the benefit of this whole integrated data and user experience.

The irony is that Google is so slow right now that I have to use Bing to get this image

The irony is that Google is so slow right now that I have to use Bing to get this image

In the end, I feel that Google, as a search engine, may not always be the default for people. When it fails at times, people may consider changing it. However, if the ecosystem of Google, the whole package of services, become the default for people, it will be much harder for people to switch. Even if some major disruption happens, people may still want to stick to Google, where they store all their data.

Data really means a lot. For me, all the data I stored in Google may be sufficient to create an identity for me.

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