I remember reading a newspaper a few weeks ago, talking about a search engine that claimed to be better than Google, because it ranked sites based on number of links from related web pages instead of just number of links total, but I can’t seem to find it, or the article, anywhere.
Google’s PageRank technology is still considered to be pretty well state of the art. Where it really wins is that PageRank makes it more difficult for webmasters to deceive the search engine into thinking one ‘lesser’ page is more relevant, or has better content, than another more helpful page.
Even if Google does take a fraction of a second longer, which I doubt, the issue is not really one of speed (we’re talking fractions) but of relevancy to the search term and quality of the pages it brings to the top of the results page for that keyword search.
Most search engines have the first part figured pretty well (relevancy), Google/PageRank, via its link analysis, still leads the way in bringing quality to the top - and that, ultimately, saves more time than anything else.