So ... the last 3 or 4 years have been a figment of my imagination? Where the heck were Yahoo or MSN in all that time and exactly what did they achieve in the area of search advancement? They did virtually nothing!
In the meantime, Google brought quality search results to almost every household in the free world while Inktomi faltered with technical difficulties and almost withered on the vine. Google created a huge demand for search ... and they delivered the results.
Page rank definitely was a revoluntionary concept and it worked rather well for quite a while. "Semantic algorithms", "hilltop" combined with various filters (both good and bad), "image search", "froogle" and more. How can you say they didn't invent anything revolutionary? Please!
Unless Sergey and Larry had done what they did ... who knows where the "search" industry would be today? Still mired in hopelessly useless results is my guess. That is not to say that I think they are putting their best foot forward at this exact moment in time ... but at least they are trying everything they can to make search even better on a daily basis.
Until only a few weeks ago, MSN was next to hopeless and Yahoo (Inktomi) lost its grip on search years ago. OK ...both are working on it ... but they are playing a serious game of catch up ... they aren't exactly the lead horse in the race!
I could spend hours and hours fact checking in order to provide a detailed account of recent history and what has transpired in the past 5 or 6 years on the search front ... but if your memory is that short, then no amount of detail will help.
However, this list from a "not so old" notebook may help you remember the landscape from just a few years back:
Yahoo, MSN, Alta Vista, Excite, Hot Bot, AOL, Snap, Canada.com, Find Rex, Ask Jeeves (Ask), Search King, Fast (AlltheWeb), Infoseek, Infospace, whatUseek, Anzwers, Teoma, Lycos, Goto (Overture), Go, Mamma, About, Splash, Northern Lights, Dogpile, search.com, Info Tiger, webcrawler, Netscape, metacrawler, Scrub, Wisenut ... the list goes on and on!
Remember when we had to submit our sites to these engines and wait up to 6 months or longer to be included in the database?
Today, sites are often indexed within 24 hours of launch. Who did that first? Yahoo? MSN? ... I don't think so!
For years and years, MSN just sat back and did nothing while using Inktomi results, which, while they were doing "a job" they were not doing "the job".
Inktomi was by far the major supplier of search results 5 or 6 years ago. Over the years, they supplied Yahoo, MSN, Hot Bot and many, many others. They gave it their best shot, but fell behind in 2000/2001 after their index became hopelessly spammed by porn sites through various submission portals and they've never really regained the ground lost.
Google snatched the Yahoo contract away from Inktomi ... which was a major coo for this young start up company at the time. In fact calling it a major coo is a vast understatement! This was a massive victory! Who do you think swung that deal?
I don't think anyone can honestly argue the point that with the exception of some short term lapses and reversals, Google has, for the past 5 years been "the" mover and shaker in the search arena.
As much as I may be ticked off with the current state of Google's search results (though I will again state that my own site is doing well) ... I can't give them enough credit for what they have done for the modern world.
I have complete faith that although they may be undergoing major growing pains with their algorithm, I truly believe it is in the interest of finding a better algorithm. Trial and error is what its all about. If you don't make mistakes and learn from them, you cannot advance.
My head hurts ... I haven't had to dredge up memories of "the good old days" for quite a while! :)