I felt they were just as good as google in the old days. I don't know why google ultimately dominated altavista. They talk about their magical algorithms but every time they're explained in detail it turns out they're neither mysterious nor especially different from what anyone else was doing.
No they were not as good as google in the old days.
It is not mysterious once the algorithm has been explained.
It was significantly different from what others were doing.
If you searched for "battle of midway" in all other engines, they would count how many times the phrase "battle of midway" appears in a web page and rank it based on that number. Google would search all the links in all the web pages that have the phrase "battle of midway" and find the most referred to site for that phrase. That is how it ranked a site. This was radically different. It earned Ph Ds for the founders. That was why Google's "I am feeling lucky" hit was better than first 100 results returned by Altavista.
Eventually it was cut down to size. It did not go bankrupt or anything, it still produces enormous cash flow, but somehow it could not mess up the market as it was able to earlier. At this point, even I don't care about Microsoft.
In the technology world, the title King-Of-The-Hill is quite fleeting. There are serious competitors to Google, especially in the overseas market.
Wu writes, "Search engines are widely understood as key mediators of the web's speech environment, given that they have a powerful impact on who gets heard, what speech is neglected, and what information generally is reached.
Then users will slowly realize that the Google's search results are not trustworthy and they will move away from Google as the search engine. The market will correct itself.
Greatest asset Google has is the trust it has earned over the years. If it misuses it it will lose the trust and the company will lose. I am not saying Google will not engage in such behavior. All I am saying is, there are natural constraints and market feedback against abuse. So we do not need any serious government action to correct it. All that government sanction and fines and browser selection dialog did not cut Microsoft down to size. A competitor did. Google has good competition from Facebook, Twitter and other social media muscling into the internet ad business and search business. That will keep Google in check more than any remedy proposed by a professor, or a lobbyist, or a judge or a legislator.
But the IC engine tech and transmission technologies are essentially tapped out. They have been refined for so long, there is not much of cost savings you could squeeze there. Same is true for electric motors, they are 100 years old, but they are new for automobile traction application. Some small savings and fine tuning can be expected. And electric motors are inherently cheaper and more versatile than IC engine+transmission. The battery technology has just started and it is still in the exponential cost reduction phase. So electric cars are going to get much cheaper in the future.
The IC engine based car market has some inertia working for it. Lots of drivers, whose usage profile does not warrant 300 mile range and 10 minute fill up are still buying IC engine cars due to inertial, marketing, range anxiety etc. 90% of the cars put in less than 100 miles a day for 360 days out a year. They would be better of renting gasoline cars for the few days they do need it. But their traditional thinking and risk aversion if subsidizing and amortizing the IC engine market fixed costs.
This is not a pretty place to be from market share stand point for the IC engines. Market could just collapse rapidly. Remember the collapse of steam locomotives market to diesel electric in mere 10 years. Recall the collapse of public transit trolley and street car systems.
As people start taking up electric cars, the fixed costs of IC engine market will be borne by lesser and lesser number of people. Traction battery market would benefit by swelling ranks of new users.
If you see my other postings you would realize that I am a progressive, supporting government action on environment, regulation of corporations etc. I defend progressive tax system where the top 1% provide half the tax revenue and urge for even more progressive system. Though I believe such a system would be justified based on kindness,patriotism, etc, I do not invoke them in defense. It is too easy to dismiss them as the touchy feely unthinking socialist/communist ideas, I would use venture capital model, where the government is a venture capitalist with very long time horizon, where it invests on all citizens, not knowing who is going to hit the jackpot and becime super successful. But when they do, they have to pay dividends on their earnings, which is why we tax "successful" people more. We invested in them too.
Here my biggest complaint is about the people who benefit by these government actions staying silent when the crisis is gone, when the anti-government tax cheats come out of the woodwork and start attacking the government. BLM policies that make it fight every fire, not declaring clearly the ares they are not going to fight, not cracking down on polluting miners etc are also bad. But they are par for the course for government action.
The problem is not the use of aircraft. The problem is the use of federal tax dollars. People who live there can pool their money and hire firefighting equipment, be it airplanes, be it trucks, be it jet packs to evacuate people. If the cost is really commensurate with the level of subsidies enjoyed by tax payers who choose not to live in fire prone (or hurricane prone, or flood prone, or mine subsidence prone) areas, we would not mind. It is the out-of-proportion entitlement mentality of these people that is in question.
It is NOT our job to bail out failing banks, nor irresponsible people, nor obsolete industries. Yes, the government routinely does all three and more. But N wrongs do not make (N+1)th wrong right both as in "answer" and as in "of way".