Perusing the revamped Ask.com a few thoughts quickly come to the fore: Nice interface, like the icons, the results aren't bad and it'll never catch Google.
It's that latter thought that bugs me. Why? A few key players have become so entrenched on the Web and creatures of habit like me just make them more dominant.
Here's the cycle: A search engine like Ask.com launches a 3D interface, skins and other key features. People like me check them out and then go back to that same old search box at the top right (or someplace else) on the browser. In most cases, the default search is Google. It almost makes me wonder if Google's market share is a function of collective laziness. In any case, Ask.com's buzz will wane once the news coverage fades.
Well no more. I'm going to force myself to forgo Google for a few weeks. There are a few reasons behind this move. For starters, I should be using alternate search engines as a matter of principle. In addition, Google is just creeping me out lately with all this Big Brotherish stuff like StreetView. Now Google isn't evil, but I'm still wary.
For the first day of my post-Google life I'll use Ask.com. It's alphabetical, timely and I'm curious to see if Ask.com can get any Google switchers and keep them.
My hit list for other search tryouts include Yahoo, Microsoft Live (or whatever they call it), Amazon's A9 and then I'll choose a few based on either your suggestions or a random walk through Read/Write Web's alternative search engine listing. Maybe Google does have a secret search sauce, but I'm never going to know unless I test the waters elsewhere. Fire away on your search engine suggestions.
The first step: Changing the search engine default in Firefox. More updates to come.