On a few occasions in this space I’ve bitched about Google, and I was getting ready to write another gripe, but I got an uneasy feeling, and here’s why: Basically, the site is great, and basically, the people who work there are great (insofar as I know them). Furthermore, I think they’re going to win the search wars for the foreseeable future. Not because of their inventiveness; I’m pretty sure that a good smart Web-savvy group of software engineers could replicate the PageRank machinery and the AdSense/AdWords marketplaces and Gmail and so on. They’re winning on the basis of execution: The site is always up and it’s always fast and you don’t get bit by bugs. That’s easy to state but it’s incredibly hard to do and it requires engineering virtuosity that I just haven’t seen equaled by anyone else. An outfit steeped in Web culture like Yahoo or Amazon or EBay might have a chance at turning the trick, but I don’t see Microsoft having the DNA for it. Note that I’m talking about the site and the people, not the company or its shares; but at the moment, I’d cheerfully bet that two years from now I’ll still be doing a lot of Web searching and that I’ll be doing most of it at Google.