1. What are the two or three main features of Google that led to its success as the number one search engine and what features should its competitors add to overtake Google as the top search engine?

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In this era of information research and management, there is an Internet Search Engine (ISE) that stands above the rest. Google has been the number one ISE for many years because of its speed, size of database and simplicity. In the business world and at the personal level everyone looks for efficiency to enhance time management and increase profits.

Google's competitors must enlarge to their databases, while maintaining the quality of their search results. In the information world massive amounts of data is important, but quality is key because consumers have limited time to sort through a mountain of "rocks" to find the "diamond" (critical information) they need. The competition is catching up with Google in speed. What they need now are bigger databases and more direct, better quality search results to dethrone Google as the lead ISE.

I will provide facts and opinions from several different reports and write-ups from ISE experts, professional news reports and other Internet documents. I'll also provide information based on my personal knowledge in the Military Information Operations arena as an example of the importance of the features that Google has. Finally, I'll include generic and specific search samples to compare Google with other leading ISEs to illustrate my findings.

Google's main features are its massive database and simplicity. Google's database carries over 1.5 billion fully indexed Web documents and that alone has kept them ahead of their competition. In today's competitive business world, information acquisition and management a critical prerequisite to the success of any business or operation. Every business depends on staying in touch with the movements and trends of the market, their competitors, and their customers in order succeed.

Google challengers Yahoo, AskJeeves, and AltaVista, among others all covet Google's users. Success has even put Google in Microsoft's crosshairs. Indeed, unlike the legions of failed dot-coms, Google boasts a proven product, a real business plan, and massive computing power--10,000 servers scanning 3 billion Web pages. Google handles about 200 million search queries a day, about half from outside the U.S. It can fetch search results in some 90 languages.1

Eventually Google's competitors may catch-up with Google by acquiring their own massive databases, but this won't matter if they fail to present information in a simple manner that allows the searcher to get to the point quickly and effectively. The ability to quickly and effectively search massive electronic databases is so critical to the success of any operation that the Army found it necessary to create a new branch called Information Operations. This action was necessary to keep up and to manage the massive amounts of data acquired by the countless military information acquisition methods and devises.

Google, which controls 80% of the search engine market, continually upgrades its own systems. Mr. Brin, co-founder of Google, has said that while Google is still far ahead of its competitors, the company is not resting on its laurels. "We have decided to put even more energy into our improvements and have turned up the notch on innovation a bit," he said. As well as being the most popular search engine, Google also enjoys the most number of pages viewed and the most amount of time spent on the site. Most search engines have only fleeting visits from surfers but Google is attracting users for more than 10 minutes per month. It may be possible to build a technically better search engine but it will be difficult to make people love it.2

The data speaks for itself: According to research by net measurement firm Nielsen/NetRatings, Google is the search engine of choice for more than 55 million Europeans, compared with MSN with 27 million users and Yahoo with 12 million users, respectively. In Europe, Google's image search is of 10 million with AOL with only 5 million. 3 The phrase 'to google' has entered...
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