- I will respect privacy.
- It will not feature information bubbles.
- There will be an API.
- There will be social context in search.
- It will be for hackers only until it is good
enough to be released to the general population.
Google was successful because the relevancy of their search results were at least 10 times better than those of the competition. And besides their near-monopoly, they survive because their results are still better, not 10 times better, but better nonetheless.
There are people here using Duck Duck Go. I'm not one of those people because DDG does not have better search results for me. Google does a good job currently at customizing search results. That's why they felt the need to compete with Facebook in the first place, because people want search results recommended by their acquaintances. They do have enough data to know at least some of your interests but they lacked a good social graph. To see how they can customize search results based on your Google+ graph, checkout 
And of course, the quality of Google can definitely improve. Personally I feel like Google isn't doing enough to combat black SEO techniques and content farms. This may be because they are trying to not piss off their users or because those content farms bring them too much revenue. And it's also my feeling that Google is no longer neutral - the placement of results from Google Places and Maps whenever you search for places has hurt websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor.
However an alternative search engine will barely be a glitch on anyone's radar if your value proposition is stuff like "respect for privacy" or "an API". Not to mention you can't provide both privacy and results based on "social context" - to customize the search results in a social context, by definition you have to track the user's social context. I did notice that the text says "respect [for] privacy", but who's to say that Google doesn't respect your privacy? That's not the same as giving privacy to users.
If it makes you feel better, Google continues to roll out iterations of both Penguin and Panda, algorithms which are targeted at black hat spam sites and low-quality sites.
In fact, this past Friday we rolled out a change to reduce exact-match domains (EMDs), which are domains like "buycheapviagraonline.info" that put a lot of keywords in the domain name in an attempt to benefit in search rankings.
DDG does provide most of that. I know because its my search engine of choice. And the DDG team has made an amazing job. I love, love their product. But it still trying to do search like Google does search. I dont want to copy Google, the aim is to research other options/routes and build a service that provides a better service altogether.
It will be a glitch. I don't mind that. It will porbably fail like the Titanic, and be a public embarrasment for me. So what? Maybe the people will build the Google killer with be reading along and use my failure as a building block. One of the reasons Google goes unchallenged is because it is fucking crazy to even try and build something that will compete with them. If this ignites people to go and question Google (and Facebook, and Amazon, etc), then it was not in vain.
From PG's essay, it may/will be the case but it doesn't matter:
> A search engine whose users consisted of the top 10,000 hackers and no one else would be in a very powerful position despite its small size