When did google become the be-all, end-all of search engines?

Tonight at work I was pondering, thinking back to the days when you’d have to use Yahoo, an Alta-Vista Search, maybe a DogPile search and then an ask Jeeve’s search, to find enough relative information to satiate the curiosity (or homework assignment. :))

If remember right, I took a computer class in 10-11th grade that we had a printout sheet full of like 15-20 different search engine recommendations we were supposed to use for an assignment or two (That’d put it at approx 1998-99). After dealing with most of the other bullshit search engines, my friends and I had pretty much settled on Google around 1999 as our default search.

Were we early/late in discovering Google pretty blew those other 15-20 search engine away?

As a neat aside, while typing this message I found out Mozilla does a spell check underline if you type google instead of Google. Food for conspiracy theorists. :slight_smile:

Heh, looking at the Wayback machine I see that Google got their tradition of working with “Beta” releases by applying it to their own flagship product.


They dropped the Beta tag in 2000.


I do remember that Yahoo and HotBot used to be my favorites search engines, but from 2000 onwards I used Google almost exclusively.

Shortly after it came out, it basically slammed the market from what I remember. Its search functionality was much better than those of previous programs. Same as other people have copied gmail conversations, search functionality which has become standard was Google First.

They don’t invent the wheel but they’re great at making wheels do things others hadn’t thought of.

If what I remember of my own timelines is correct, you and your class were on track with the rest of the world.

Why is that surprising? “Google” is a proper name, and “google” isn’t a word (yet, but it’s getting there). The proper spelling for 10[sup]100[/sup] is “googol”.

Honestly, I never realized google wasn’t an actual word (or at least not standardized in a dictionary yet). I thought it was the way your spelled the googol you referred to, there is some correlation between googol and google though, is there not?

As for when Google turned into the dominant force:

Also remember Google was immune from the late 90s scandals where it was found out many search engines were allowing people to pay to get high results. Back then it wasn’t put in a special area and marked “Paid Links”

Google was also minimalistic. The attitude in the late 90s was that a search engine should not only find things but be your one and all portal to the world. Yahoo is a great example of a busy search engine. AltaVista once was the “Google” of search engines but it’s decline was rapid when it’s results failed to keep up with the growing web.

In the end Google simply had a better algorithm and gave people the answers they wanted.

Today I can find things in Yahoo and MSN I can’t find in Google, but Google still wins.

Few people realize today, that Google, Yahoo, MSN(Bing). Ask and Gigablast are the only major (English) search engines that use their own alogrithms to track results. Other search engines simply use one of those and rearange the results.

Of course other countries like China and India have their own search engines based on different algorithms and you can often find items on search engines if you’re willing to look and use a translation tool.

Yeah.“Google” was supposed to be a play on “googol”. From their Company Overview:

Of course, the search engine has far superseded the number (at least according to Google, heh). Hell, Firefox doesn’t even recognize “googol” as a valid word.

Gah! You just made me remember my early AOL days! :eek: lol

FWIW, I read The Google Story last year and found it very interesting.

ON a related question, hopefully not to off-track:::

I remember using search engines when I first got my computer in 1996?, and was pretty well disappointed until a savvy friend told me about Dogpile, which was light years ahead of anything else I had seen. Did they just use all other search engines combined, or did they have a unique algorithm?

Not sure, I used to use mat hari I’d kick it on and go to bed and wake up with a file of links to hit.

I had a friend once tell me that the thing that allowed google to stand out from other engines was the spelling correction it used; for example, if I did a search on ‘Mark Hammel’, it would note that the term was off and ask if I was looking for ‘Mark Hamill’, making searches more successful, especially for poor typists or spellers. Can anyone confirm they were the first to do so, and offer an opinion on whether or not this was a large factor?

Yes, they just searched using multiple search engines. Before Google, it was necessary to search all of the popular search engines to find relevant content for many searches; I remember being in college during this time, and going though Yahoo, Webcrawler, Alta Vista, Lycos, etc. just to find relevant pages.

The phrase “Google is your friend” started showing up on the SDMB back in early 2002.
Lots of people were still hooked on other search engines back then.

2001/2002 from memory. ALthough Yahoo! is still used by many.

Honestly, I can’t think of any other (generalized) search engine I’ve used in the last five years, at least. I will occasionally still visit AltaVista, but only for Babelfish. I haven’t even visited Yahoo! for searching since at least 2000 (I was a member of their subscription games service for a while, but no searching).

I discovered the beta of Google via a computer/internet newsletter I used to get (The Tourbus). I can’t remember the exact year, but it would have been around '98 probably. I was pretty much a dedicated Yahoo user – I liked browsing categories as well as entering search terms. At that time I was doing computer/internet training, and a lesson on using Yahoo was part of my class, esp. using the boolean search options. After using Google for a short while, though, I was pretty much hooked. I spread the word 'mongst my cohorts (other computer professionals and trainers). What was unique about Google was not only the minimalist interface but the way it served up results – the page that was most linked to, and thus considered the most relevant – was at the top of the list. Google was the first engine to do that.

some search engines were based on human input and judgment like Yahoo. you got fewer but higher quality hits.

Google was based on content search so you got lots of hits and lots of junk.

as the net got humongous both methods were refined and blended.

I was visiting Stanford in January, 1997, and I heard Sergey Brin give a talk about his idea for a new search engine, based on the algorithm, much refined, that Google still uses.

I got my first DSL connection in late 2000. Before that, I hardly ever used the internet, except for email. By that time, Google was the standard search engine and the only one I use, except for occaionally trying Cuil and Bing. Incidentally, the founders of Cuil, Anna Anderson and Tom Costello were also at Stanford in 1997.