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Years ago when using search engines like Altavista, or Excite or the many other search engines in the early days of the web, one would typically, when searching for something get search results that were totally irrelevant to what you were looking for. Search engines were spammed by rogue web masters, and at the time they did nothing about it.
One day Google just popped up out of nowhere and suddenly one could actually get what they were looking for. It was revolutionary. It was simple, it was clean, it loaded up really, really fast (even on our 28.8K modems back then!)
Tales of Googles search prowess got around, and it spread like a virus.
Nowadays, Google is much more than just a web search engine. It offers a whole lot of free services and products from online word processing site (Writely) to free 2GB email service (Gmail).