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As noted in the article, apparently Google is presenting the top four search engines used in a given country

Good. 4 is a good number. It's on the low end of the number range people think of as "enough choice."

4 is the new 3

4 has been the 3 of China for 4000 years.

care to explain?

Uhh, I'll do my best.

At its simplest, in the West we have a thing for threes. Three bits of God, three little pigs, three branches of government (in the USA at least), "things come in threes", three books/movies in a series (a trilogy), stories that have a "beginning/middle/end".

Bottom line, the West tends toward organizing and thinking of things in threes. Some might even be superstitious about threes (perhaps a Pythagorean influence).

In China the number 4 plays a similar role. I don't know much about 'numerology' in China, save to say that recently the number 4 (which apparently sounds like 'death' in Chinese) has been considered bad luck. Here's a better explanation than I could give: https://www.quora.com/In-Chinese-culture-why-is-the-number-4...

4 seasons, the 4 corners of the world, the 4 cardinal directions, the 4 bodily humors (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humorism), you can find a ton of 4's in the West.

In China the number 8 means wealth or fortune. It's not a coincidence that Brooklyn Chinatown is on 8th Ave. Their 'numerology' is interesting

My company just skipped the number 13 in a software version number.

In Hong Kong, "Chinese" buildings skip floor 4, 14, ..., while "Western" buildings skip floor 13. More recent culturally inclusive buildings skip floors 4, 13, 14, ... The most prestigious floors are 8 and 88.

To add a complication, Chinese tends to use the US convention (with the ground floor being floor 1), while the English convention is the British one (with the ground floor being floor 0).

By happy coincidence, then, the 13th floor is also 十四樓, ie the 14th floor, so you only need to skip one floor, rather than two. That explains why HK skyscrapers are so high.

8 sounds like

3 is important in decision making because it makes it easier to form a consensus. If I disagree with your idea, you have another entity to act as an arbiter.

Did the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy trilogy in four parts do well in China?

The increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Guide Trilogy was, finally, in five parts; see Mostly Harmless.

Soon it will be 6 parts. For some reason they (whoever they are) have decided another book is a good idea.

Reminds me of the song "Three is a magic number".

It’s 3 more choices than most in the US get for broadband providers.

It was an odd thing to me but Chrome would not list DuckDuckGo until after you had visited DuckDuckGo.com manually. Once on DDG it became an option. That's been around for a while, as I've had DDG as my Chrome default for a couple years. I presume it's now an option even if you've never visited.

I believe that's because of opensearch and not necessarily a Chrome thing.

Similarly, how many different options are available for similar classes of items found at Costco?

Say, frozen chicken, napkins, instant noodles, paper cups, etc. In some cases there is only 1 option offered, sometimes 2, rarely are there ever more than 4 options offered at Costco for a single type of item. When you trust that you are being offered the best choice or a top choice, well, we know what happens at Costco. People buy pallets in that warehouse.

Similarly, how many different options are available for similar classes of items found at Costco?

Effectively, Costco shoppers are people who already have chosen, "the cheapest fairly good quality option."

Costco doesn't have a near-monopoly on grocery shopping.

Yes, but (1) Costco has nowhere near a monopoly on grocery, clothing, and electronics and (2) not even Costco customers do 100% of their grocery, clothing, and electronics shopping at Costco.

Costco is the "I'm feeling lucky" button.

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