Re: @ Trevor_Pott
Where did I say Google didn't have the advantage? Hmm?
I said "Microsoft is just as guilty of invading your privacy as Google." That presumes you use Microsoft, of course, but they try every dirty, underhanded tactic that Google does...and then some.
They're just not remotely as successful as Google.
So to sit there and decry Google for privacy violations and screaming "use the alternative" is a bullshit response. The alternative will violate your privacy just as badly. The difference is that if you go Microsoft you won't get a product and/or service that is as useful as Google's in exchange for your privacy.
So the market currently looks like this:
Google: creepy evil panopticon that provides products and services that people want to use in exchange for monitoring every aspect of their entire lives. Insinuated everywhere into everything. Virtually impossible to avoid.
Microsoft: wannabe-creepy but very definitely evil corporate that provides products which for the most part are second rate, outright ass or just plain not what people want. They make you pay for their stuff (well most of it) and the rest is a loss leader...but they monitor you through all of it. (Though they are vaguely less creepy about their monitoring the higher the amount of money you spend. But only vaguely less creepy.)
They used to be everywhere and now aren't. They are desperately trying to get themselves into the ultra-creepy paniopticon presence, but nobody actually wants their web shit so they don't quite have the reach to be nearly so perasive as Google. Should they get Google's reach there's zero reason to think that they won't be just as creepy as Google, and every reason to think the products and services won't be as good as Google's, but you'll have to pay for them and Microsoft will spy on you.
Yahoo: when it works, it still sucks. Even less effective at being creepy and pervasive than Microsoft. Still trying though.
Everyone else: Well, here you can find a mixed bag, from creepy to not creepy, from sucky to awesome. Sadly, you don't get a search engine that even pretends to be worth a bend damn. There are several non-Google analytics companies that are moving up the creepy-o-meter that don't offery end-users anything and make website owners pay. May e-mail providers scan e-mail for ads, many don't.
So yeah, I don't know where in that I said "Google don't have an advantage." Of course they do. That doesn't make the competition less creepy, evil or willing/desiring to invade your privacy.