In the middle of this MSNBC article on Google, an unscientific reader survey asks whether other search engines stand a chance against Google. With 8716 responses, 40 percent said “Yes, we’re always looking for the next new thing,” while 52 percent said “No, it’s become a part of our everyday lives.”
Even if just 40 percent of the people using Google now are willing to switch to other things, that is a huge liability for the Google team, pushing them to continue to be their best. So far they have been up to the challenge, but the new Yahoo algorithm is pretty strong, and MSN’s spider has been actively building a database for future use.
It would be interesting to see other company names in that poll. I think you would find a similar response. There always seems to be focus on how easily people could leave Google and search with something else.
Most companies should feel the same pressure. Customers are always asking “What restaurant am I going to eat at tonight?” I don’t think driving down the road another two miles for an alternative choice is all that different from clicking on another link.