The trend of splintering search continues.

I’ve wondered why Google seems to be getting increasingly opinionated about Search. Partly it’s because that’s where most of their money comes from, so it’s kind of important to them. But the other part must be because search is no longer a platform or an engine, it’s a feature. Google replaced AOL as the gateway to the internet for a while and became the verb for searching the internet. Now, it’s just one tool among many, one you use for specific use cases.

The youths TikTok for lunch spots.

You YouTube if you want to learn something.

You Amazon or Etsy or eBay or Shopify (soon, maybe) if you’re shopping.

You Pinterest if you’re planning a project or looking for ideas.

You LinkedIn or Indeed or ZipRecruiter if you’re looking for a job.

Depending on your phone, you might Apple Maps if you’re looking for directions or nearby spots.

All of these things used to start on Google, now Google might just be the fastest way to get to them. Big G does not want to be the transportation service between users and competitors.

Rant: This is why it can get tricky when companies like Yelp or shopping aggregators complain when Google adds a similar feature or changes the algorithm so they drop out of the top 5, Google is not a utility company. As with social media, plenty of politicians and lobbying interests want these companies to behave like public services without actually regulating and requiring that they do so. Twitter is not the public square, it’s just where a lot of news-inclined people hang out so the loud voices confused it with the public square.