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Sunday,  03/31/24  05:21 PM

[I guess Happy Easter broke the dam ...]

Waay back in 1999, I worked for Intuit.  (At that time, the big challenge for leading software companies was moving from desktop to web, my team were building "Web Quicken"... but thaat's a story for another day.)  We occupied ten buildings in Mountain View which were formerly the Sun Microsystems campus.  (Sun outgrew that campus and built a spiffy new one, which they soon undergrew as computing moved from minicomputers to desktops... but thaat's another story too.) 

Across our parking lot was a small building housing a cute little company with a funny name: Google.  They were trying to build a better web search than Alta Vista ... ha ha!  We did notice that they seemed to be there all the time, and threw a lot of parties.

At that time Netscape Navigator was the leading browser, with Microsoft Internet Explorer a distant second.  Google became the default search engine in Navigator, which morphed into Mozilla.  (Yahoo was the default search engine in Internet Explorer, but that's yet another story.)  Of course, the rest is history.  From that point on Google was THE Internet search engine, everyone else was a distant second, despite there being many "everyone else"s over those years.

Which brings us to today.  Google have clearly jumped the shark, their politics have people like me looking for alternatives.  And AI-based chat is a lot better than mere search for answering many questions.  As I found myself using ChatGPT more and more in lieu of the default search in my browser, I found myself wondering if I could have an AI/chat experience as the default search.  And then I found Perplexity.  And so after 20 years of hegemony, Google search has serious challengers.

Of course, there are still times when you want a "pure" web search.  And you can do that easily, just type "duckduckgo.com <search terms>" and poof you can have it.  (For that matter, you can type "google.com <search terms>" too...)