In the late '90s my Grandmother spent a few hundred dollars on a website to sell her self-published book. I recall spending hours with her crafting meta-keywords and submitting her site to Alta-Vista and Yahoo!
It's easy to forget just how much Google changed online search. These days it's difficult to imagine a world without Google Search (and Google Mail, Google Maps, Google Documents, Google Reader, Google Analytics, Google Trends... ).
Earlier this month Microsoft launched Bing, a replacement for Live Search (formerly Windows Live Search, formerly MSN search....) . Bing claimed to be a "decision engine" and I think they hoped or expected Bing to be another Google - the beginning of a dramatic change in the way we search online.
But after using it over the past few weeks all I see is... another Google. To me, It looks like Google with a new colour scheme. Only the search results aren't what I'm looking for... so I'm officially giving up and going back to Google.
Now it could be because I'm using the Australian version of Bing and all of the amazing things that make Bing so amazingly different are only in the US version of Bing, even so I am skeptical that another Search Engine could take over from Google the way Google eclipsed Alta Vista. Web Search was ripe for overthrow simply because nothing we had was any good. Google, unlike anything else at the time, just plain worked.
Given that Google does work, very well, it's hard to see another search engine taking over. For there to be another revolution in the way people seek information online there needs to be a leap as big (if not bigger) than there was between web directories (such as Yahoo! and Alta Vista back in the 90s) and search engines.