If you're looking for something on the Internet chances are that you will need to consult a search engine if the exact domain name isn't known. Such has been the rise of Google that it's common to say 'Google for this, and Google for that'. Indeed, Google is an eponym for searching the vast reaches of the World Wide Web and, for many, it's their homepage as IE or Firefox kick into life.
Google's underlying algorithms return a list of websites that are most closely matched to the query, and it's pretty good for that. However, if you want to know more about a particular subject, the likes of Wikipedia do a better job.
Competitors have come and gone, but, to put it really simply, Google has managed to stay ahead of the pack by the ability to successfully monetise search results that are based on fundamentally sound technology.
Now, though, another engine, although not search-based, is, indirectly, having a pop at the industry giant, and it has the backing of some illustrious people.
Kosmix.com, now in beta, purports to be more than just a mere returner of results, and it attempts to bring together text, video, audio, blogs and shopping-related searches in an easy-to-understand, at-a-glance look. Further, it adds opinions and associated resources, too.
As a very basic comparison, take a look at the results returned - and how they're displayed - for the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant on Kosmix and Google.
Kosmix has an incredibly long and tortuous road ahead of it if it wants to successfully compete against Google, but it's the brainchild of the two chaps - Anand Rajaraman and Venky Harinarayan - who flogged their e-commerce site Junglee to Amazon for around $250m in 1998. They claim that their proof-of-concept site, RightHealth, has revolutionised how medical practitioners garner data.
The company has some high-profile investors, including Amazon's very own Jeff Bezos and ex-Motorola boss Ed Zander, and, funnily enough, the 65-man team is based down the road from Google's HQ in Mountain View, California.
There is no shortage of companies wishing to take a small chunk of Google's pie - nexplore coming to mind - but have a go at Kosmix and tell us what you think of how it aggregates data.
The irony of using Google to research a few statistics isn't lost on me, by the way.