Following up on our last post, Imagining a World Without Facebook, here’s another great infographic from Social Grain for those more interested in search than social: A World Without Google. This isn’t about search engines in general – the graphic isn’t illustrating a world without all search engines – but just Google. That may not sound as serious, but just consider all of the services Google has expanded into beyond search: Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Analytics, Google Maps, Google Earth, and Blogger.
It feels like Google has been around forever, but it really hasn’t been much more than a decade since it incorporated in 1998. In addition, the Google services we take for granted today are even younger – AdSense and Blogger were just acquired in 2003, while Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Talk, and Google Analytics were introduced in 2005, followed by the introduction of Google Docs and Google Calendar in 2006.
Without Google, there would still be other search engines, like Yahoo and Bing. But Google has become the powerhouse it is by fulfilling needs that these other search engines don’t. As Social Grain points out, users appreciate Google’s minimalist design to Yahoo’s “cluttered” homepage. In addition, Yahoo may not always understand or meet the needs of its users, indicated by its “mishandling” of popular acquisitions like del.icio.us. As for Microsoft’s Bing, users have criticized its slow indexing time (compared to Google’s) and its lack of advanced algorithms.
However, Social Grain’s graphic reveals both arguments regarding whether or not we would be “better off” without Google. Some feel that Google monopolizes search and could misuse stored user information, while others trust Google to protect their personal information and feel that the benefits of Google’s services outweigh any risks. What’s your stance?