For years, I used to use Yahoo as my search engine of choice. Then one day, I tried Google, and was amazed at how much better the search results were. I never went back.
Nowadays, I generally use Google out of habit. Yahoo and other search engines have since improved their searches considerably and I can't say I find any one better than another. I usually get more-or-less the same results no matter what I use. (Except Cuil, which returned absolutely terrible results, when I tried playing around with it.)
Today I read that Google's search dominance has continued to increase, serving up 63% of all searches on the Internet. I wouldn't call that a monopoly, per se, but as a consumer, I'd rather have at least two "biggies" battling it out for searches. Nothing good can come from one major winner. Looks what happened to Internet Explorer as soon as Microsoft won the browser wars. It was dead in the water for years until Firefox came along and blew IE6 out of the water. Tabbed windows, standards compliant, and wonderfully useful toolbars. IE7 improved things dramtically, but I still prefer Firefox. And now a beta version for IE8 is already available. See what a little compition can do? We'd all probably still be stuck with IE6 if it wasn't for Firefox's success.
(Speaking of IE8--if anyone is trying it and discovers any problems with Atlas Quest while using it, let me know. I haven't downloaded it or tried it out as of yet, so there could certainly be "upgrade issues" I don't know about.)
I still like Google search results, though, but I find myself more and more concerned about their enormous clout. So, starting today, I've decided to ditch Google as my search engine of choice. No, starting today, I'm going to use Live Search.
Why Live? Well, my opinion of Yahoo has gone down for one thing. I still hate their cluttered search page. And the fact they're trying to partner up with Google is a huge issue with me. After all, I want to reduce Google's dominance--not increase it which is what the partnership with Yahoo will do. And Microsoft, who runs the search engine, is the third most commonly used one. It does not hurt that I own some stock in Microsoft either, though my little pittance was hardly a major deciding factor on that score. ;o) Anyhow, my trust in Yahoo's management was shot after they didn't take Microsoft's offer to buy up the whole company. Are they IDIOTS?! Apparnently so. (I'm a bit leery about Microsoft making the offer in the first place, but I'm not entirely convinced it would have been a bad thing had they bought Yahoo either. Yahoo not taking it, though--that's just criminal in my book.)
I never really used Live before, and when I checked it out this afternoon, I was actually pleasantly surprised. I pretty picture of Machu Pichu showed up, like a pretty background compared to the stark white of Google. And when I moved my cursor around the page, little boxes would highlight on the image with information to links about the site, the photo, and one of them even included a link to "airline ticket deals." WAY COOL! It's like a virtual box on Atlas Quest! Not that I'm particuarly find of virtuals, but I love how the links are "hidden" in the photo like letterboxes in the wild.
I'm not sure how often the image changes. I've tried a couple of refreshes and it still comes up Machu Pichu. But gosh, I really like it from a visual standpoint. =)
I'll still keep the Google ads on the tutorial pages for lack of a better source for them. I really wish Microsoft would come up with a program such as Google's AdSense program. Even if they give out ALL of the money made from the ads, Microsoft could still come out ahead just by making itself more relevant. But they never asked my opinion. I'm just a lowly webmaster and shareholder. =)
But in any case, I'm no longer going to use Google as my primary search engine. Long live Live! =)