On the air I mentioned the anniversary of the founding of Google in 1998 and remarked that I used to use search engines like Excite and Dogpile but had no idea if they were still active, and Ben Gutierrez replied that we could google for them to see.
When I was done laughing I found I was curious, so I did some checking. First of all, Google has been losing market share but still does more than 80% of all searches, and no other search engine has more than 7% market share. Bing had 3% in 2010 and about 4% in 2011 so maybe it’s more now.
In the 1990s my search engine of choice was Excite, founded in 1994, but today it’s an also-ran that is most famous in Internet circles for turning down a chance to acquire Google in 1999.
Sometimes I used Lycos, also founded in 1994. It owned but sold Wired News and exists today as a Korean content provider.
When I learned about metasearchers, which search other search engines, I began using Dogpile, founded in 1996. It still exists but I haven’t used it in years.
Many people used AltaVista, launched in 1995, but it no longer exists as an independent search engine.
Bing was launched so recently, and with so much fanfare, and with Microsoft behind it, that I was surprised it’s still as marginal as every other non-Google search engine. Why, for example, have I not done a single search on Bing?
The answer is, (a) I’m satified with Google so I don’t have a compelling need to find something better, and (b) if there’s one thing I’m sick and tired of, it’s having to relearn basic computer functions yet again because this software is different from that software.
One footnote: I began using Yahoo in 2001 to do daily searches for airline and hotel news, and still look every morning, because Yahoo continues to be good at sorting out business news for me, even though I never do traditional one-off searches on Yahoo.