World without oil” is the name of a famous alternate reality game (ARG). It was created to imagine the first 32 weeks of a global oil crisis. Titled “a serious game for the public good” it is now used for education purposes, depicting a scary reality.

I had this association the other day, when Google stopped functioning for “less than” an hour. All links had a “may harm your computer” warning attached. Suddenly, people where shocked and amazed at the horrifying possibility of a world without Google.

The Chicago Breaking News article include links to other sources reported on the event. Lucky it was the weekend.

So I was thinking about it. I mean, it was OK before Google. There were other search engines. At the beginning Google seemed pale compared with them. Yet nowadays, the indisputable ruler of the world wide web is Google. The ultimate portal. All quests begin with Google.

Well, just in case, I thought it could be wise to prepare a list of alternative search engines:

First is the good old Yahoo! . Strangely enough, yahoo is the one looking pale now, compared to the relatively colorful pages Google may generate.
Lycos is still doing what it knows. Quick and relevant search.
What used to be MSN search is now Live search.
It seems like there are many more search engines we simply skip on our way to Google. You can actually find many listed on wikipedia and learn of local search engines and sector searches.
On this page I found WIKIA search, which seems just a little different from the rest, aiming at the web 3.0, or semantic web. It did start with the wrong foot with me, placing the two most irrelevant results first, forcing me to use quotes. It has some interesting features built in. Starting with being able to graphically personalize your search page, than you can add web sites to the search results, you can delete results and also search by application – including such as twitter, meetup, wordpress, alexa, crunchbase, lastfm and more.
searchenginecollage
I also tried DogPile, the search engine searching all of the above from a single point, promising to donate a portion of its income to rescue pets. Nice touch. I think I may adopt it. What am I missing there? The comfortable reach to my other Google applications – the mail, documents, photos, Youtube and other personal services.

Well, there is life beyond Google after all. Ha. So why was it such a shock to see Google down for less than an hour?