The Guardian Unlimited has an article about the whole weblogs/Google controversy, and this one line really stood out to me:
It is a simple task for us to switch search engines if our trust is abused.
Is it such a simple task? Sure, I’ve set my default search engine to AlltheWeb right now, and there are others to choose from, but this really only handles the basic web searches. If you use the Google Web API for anything, you probably know it’s a cool thing, but do other engines offer anything similar? Would you have to re-write your apps? Does AlltheWeb’s Advanced Search match up against Google’s Advanced Search? People use the term google as a verb – “Did you google for an answer?” and some recently released browsers have a Google toolbar built into them…
Don’t get me wrong, Google is a great search engine (I’ve even got a Google t-shirt somewhere, and have been known to wear it from time to time) and I still use it, but I’d really prefer to not become completely reliant upon it. Reliance upon any one entity for something isn’t always a good thing. (Microsoft, Apple, etc.)
So back to the statement, that it will be a simple task to switch search engines, for some people it will be simple, and for some applications it will be simple, but if Google disappeared from the web today, could you easily switch search engines and not notice a difference, and still find what you’re looking for?