Ionut has an interesting post about what the world would be like without Google. I agree that the Internet would be quite a bit different than it is today. I wonder what points will be added to this list ten years from now?
our mail account would still have 2MB or 4MB of storage and we would be happy about that.
I agree that most free web-based email services would still have 2-4MB storage limits, however I really don't think that we would be "happy" about it. I recall being quite frustrated with my 2MB Hotmail account before I was given a GMail invitation. I think a better way to look at a "without Google" scenario here would be that less people would use a webmail account as their primary address. Google has made this scenario feasible.
we would find a mail by manually reviewing each subject and sender.
Most email clients have a "search" feature, it's just that Google's is better. But I agree, trying to locate email was always a bit of a frustration -- and would have continued to be.
we would pay for software like Picasa, Keyhole (now Google Earth), Sketchup
If you wanted this software, you would have to pay for it -- but the number of people actually wanting this software enough to pay would be few. With the exception of Picasa, I don't think the average user would find them useful enough to pay the outrageous prices.
many startups would not exist without Google AdSense, so there would be less innovation.
And there would be less spam -- everyone and their dog has a website with AdSense on it -- a decent chunk of those websites could be considered spam. But I do agree that some legitimate startups rely on income from ad programs like this.
There is a way for AdSense to work in a way that doesn't encourage spam though. It would require each website looking to use AdSense to be explicitly approved by a human. They already have a huge team of contract evaluators that they could give this task to.
our homepage would be a portal, or about:blank
technology news would be less exciting
And there wouldn't be great blogs like Google Operating System, Google Blogoscoped and (gratuitous plug) Googling Google!
I would like to add my own "If Google Didn't Exist" points because I think there are a few more that could be mentioned.
- We would still be using MapQuest for our mapping needs
- Searching our computer would still take fifteen minutes
- Accidentally overwriting an entire directory of web projects consisting of hundreds of c# and HTML files, becuase Visual Studio 2005 thought it would be fun, wouldn't be the end of the world. Google Desktop caches everything -- which can be good, trust me.