The collaboration between Yahoo! and Microsoft is spawning a lot of articles about the coming duopoly in search (since the Yahoo! Microsoft deal is for 10 years, we're talking 10 year horizon times). But this got me to thinking: when did people realize Google was something big? I realized Google was something big (for me personally since I'm a data junkie) after being pointed to it from this article in Salon in December of 1998. I became a Google evangelist. Initially most people thought my enthusiasm was a bit strange, at that point there were a dozen search engines, and all of them were pretty much crap. Of course once anyone used Google they never touched anything else again (to be fair, it took a little while for Google's indexing to overtake all other search engines, so there was some utility in checking the others for a bit). But when did Google hit the media radar? It seems that The New York Times didn't see fit to mention it until July of 1999, I Link, Therefore I Am: a Web Intellectual's Diary:
Hang around long enough on Lemonyellow.com and you'll feel the power and depth of the Web in a way that is very different from, say, a day spent bidding on old comic books at Ebay or managing a stock portfolio at E*Trade. The links on Lemonyellow.com go to very few commercial sites, with the exception of Amazon.com, which is the link for the site's many book titles. To find just the right link, Ms. Halpert uses a search engine -- usually Google, her favorite.
Yes, Google is simply an aside, not the the focus of this article. Here's a post which tried to be more thorough, How Long Did It Take for the World to Identify Google as an AltaVista Killer? Finally, an article I specifically remember from the spring of 2001, GoTo gains amid Web pains:
"For us, the turning point came in March as our strong first-quarter results rolled in," said Meisel, whose Pasadena, Calif.-based company has just completed three consecutive quarters of 30 percent revenue growth and seven quarters of 20 percent growth. GoTo's performance in the first quarter, vaulting well past analysts' expectations, has raised the company's profile as Web content companies in general and search providers in particular examine their businesses in an attempt to survive the online ad bust and an overall dot-com shakeout.
GoTo was of course eventually acquired by Yahoo!