Google simply has the best search product. They invest in it like crazy.
I’ve tried bing multiple times. It’s slow, it spams msn ads in your face on the homepage. Microsoft just doesn’t get the value of a clean UX.
DuckDuckGo results are pretty irrelevant the last time I tried them. There is nothing that comes close to their usability. To make the switchover, it has to be much much better than Google. Chances are that if something is, Google will buy them.
But what about when Google fails? Unlike DDG, there is no culture of switching between search engines when googling. Typically, you'll just rewrite the query for google. And as rewriting the query is an entrenched part of googling, you are less likely to notice this as a failure. It is this training that's the core advantage nostrademons points out.
I've been using DDG exclusively since I was a contractor at Google years ago and have never had a problem finding things with it...
Building the index itself is relatively easy. There are some subtleties that most people don't think about (eg. dupe detection and redirects are surprisingly complicated, and CJK segmentation is a pre-req for tokenizing), but things like tokenizing, building posting lists, and finding backlinks are trivial - a competent programmer could get basic English-only implementations of all three running in a day.
- Hardware infrastructure and data center presence for extremely fast search from anywhere in the world.
- Near real-time search suggestion.
- personalized search results based on past search + geolocation.
- Search to get instant results without having to go to a website.
Just to name a few. Google Search is the gold standard of a search engine, not because its Google or because they have been around for a long time and the brand name sticks (I am sure it helps too), but for the simple fact is no search engine is even remotely close to being as good as google and I have tried them all more of the less and given them shot. They are just not good at all.
I also don't understand the hate towards google being in charge of so many products so many people use, ie, Mail, Maps, Chrome, Android, Docs (to name a few). It's simply because they are damn good at it. If its a crime to make a product so good that people continue to use it, then I don't know what else people are supposed to do. As if we are asking google to make shit products, I just don't understand the reasoning.
The best available doesn't necessarily mean the best possible. And Google is far from it, and it's getting worse, not better.
Using a bit of Google-fu I'm usually able to find what I need quickly but it's still more of a hassle than it used to be.
It's easier to return the most relevant 10 results when there's only 10 thousand options than when there's 10 trillion options with 10 thousand new ones created every day.
My guess is that it's because Google Search now also has to cater to queries from Assistant. Being required to handle web, mobile, and assistant probably necessitated tradeoffs in quality of one over another.
More generally I feel like as the company gets bigger it just gets much harder to handle all the complexity and keep things focused.
First, I think search results at Google have gotten worse because people are not actually good at finding the best example of what they're looking for. People go with whatever query result exceeds some minimum threshold. This means when Google looks at what people "land on" (e.g. something like the last link of 5 they clicked from the search page, and then which they spend the most time on according to that page's Google Analytics or whatever), they aren't optimizing for what's best, they're optimizing for what is the minimum acceptable result. And so what's happening is years and years of cumulative "Well, I suppose that's good enough" culminating in a perceptible drop in search result quality overall.
Second, Google has clearly been giving greater weight to results that are more recent. You'd think this would improve the quality of the results which "survive the test of time" but again, Google isn't optimizing for "best" results, they're optimizing for "the result which sucks the least among the top 3-5 actual non-ad results people might manage to look at before they are satisfied". So this has the effect of crowding out older results which are actually better, but which don't get shown as much because newer results have temporal weight.
My warning is this, too, which you've surely noticed: Google search has created a "consciousness" of the internet, and in the 90s it used to be that digitizing something was kind of like "it'll be here forever" and for some reason people still today think putting something online gives it some kind of temporal longevity, which it absolutely does not have. I did a big research project at the end of the last decade, and I was looking for links specifically from the turn of the century. And even in 2009, they were incredibly hard to find, and suffered immensely from bitrot, with links not working, and leaning heavily on archive.org. Google has been and is amplifying this tremendously, by twiddling the knob to give more recent results a positive weight in search. Google makes a shitload of money from mass media content companies (e.g. Buzzfeed) and whatever other sources meet the minimum-acceptable-threshold for some query, versus linking to some old university or personal blog site which has no ads whatsoever. So the span of accessible knowledge has greatly shrunk over the last few years. Not only has the playing field of mass media and social media companies shrunk, but the older stuff isn't even accessible anymore. So we're being forced once more into a "television" kind of attention span, by Google, because of ads.
I know it's not google proper, but I'd guess a significant number of their searches are specific to youtube.
I read somewhere that someone used a skin to make ddg look identical to Google. After doing that, they never even thought about using Google again.