1 expert and 3 parents have answered
One answer would be "other search engines are available", but yes, the reach of google is impressive even if your email is not actually GMAIL, many other ISP emails are powered by Google.
Lets not forget Android, the largest Mobile smartphone platform - bigger than iOS and Windows phone combined - that's Google as well.
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The internet recently suffered an enormous catastrophe: Google went down for two minutes. Sounds like hyperbole, sure, but it also meant web traffic dipped by a massive 40%. What would happen if the search engine giant ever disappeared permanently? I think we'd just about survive, but things would be very different.
The tech industry would take a knock – Google lost about $545, 000 as a result of that brief outage – and we'd all be arguing as to what the new 'default' search engine should be. It might be Yahoo!, the way things are going, but I can't imagine a world where somebody says they're going to 'Yahoo something'.
There's actually quite a lot of, er, Google hits for 'What if Google never existed?' Some are a little dramatic, and some are overly glib. Some are more interesting: they posit that their might be a more even playing field in the tech world without Google's 'monopoly'.
We should remember, too, that Google isn't just a search engine: it's also our email, our advertising, our maps, our videos (they own YouTube, remember?), our web browser, our books. If Google it wouldn't be the death of tech, but it'd be a significant change (especially for kids who've grown up with it). But I think, most importantly, nobody would ever watch The Internship again.
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Isn't the more pressing question:
If Google shut down tomorrow, how long would it take to strip their reach from society/our lives?
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No other single organisation has integrated itself into my life more than Google.
From my Android phone, which with Google now has pretty much become my personal assistant to their superb search algorithms (I try other search engines regularly, none give me the result quality I get from Google), Google Drive (Docs) which saves me buying an expensive office suite, YouTube for video sharing and entertainment, Photos and auto-awesome for amazing photo sharing, Google Keep (great for shopping lists), Maps (no need for expensive SatNav) and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
The way these products have matured and integrated in recent times means they are all pretty much indispensable to me.
They also cost me nothing to use beyond the cost of the devices I use to access them.
What would happen if they went?
Well, I'm sure I'd use other services, but many would be less effective, less integrated, and would frustrate me more.
I think Yahoo could be the one to watch here, Marissa Meyer (http://www.businessinsider.com/marissa-mayer-biography-2013-8) is a force to be reckoned with and we're starting to see the fruits of her input now she's in charge.