Because we should never become too reliant on a single tool, and because I think these folks have a few good points, as an experiment I'm going to use search engines other than Google every Friday. The Google of today is a far cry from the one I fell in love with two or three years ago. Their search results and speed are probably still second-to-none, but the accumulation of not-so-cool over the last little while (their lack of detail regarding how much information they retain about individual search histories, the weird Pyra purchase, etc.), and their growing potential as a single "choke point" in the web's overall ecosystem worry me. The 'new' Google is omnipotent enough to spawn its own neologism ('Googling') and corporate enough to bitch about it. For today, at least, I've added an entry to my /etc/hosts file:
which will direct all my search queries (including those invoked from the built-in search fields of applications like Safari) to AllTheWeb, which has done a potentially lawyer-hardon-engendering job of supporting Google's search API with a minimal, bannerless UI.
Three great scientific theories of the structure of the universe are the
molecular, the corpuscular and the atomic. A fourth affirms, with
Haeckel, the condensation or precipitation of matter from ether — whose
existence is proved by the condensation or precipitation … A fifth
theory is held by idiots, but it is doubtful if they know any more about
the matter than the others.
— Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary”