Google added features like searching with "site:ibm.com" so you only searched one site for results. Google also added natural language processing so people could ask it questions and it would find the answers to the questions. Ask Jeeves had that first, but Google did a better version of it.
One thing that Google did was Adsense and advertising and I don't recall Altavista and others having advertising options, but they did have sponsored listings. Google found a way for web masters to earn money. Google became the default search in Firefox as well when people switched to it from IE.