The Christmas/New Year holiday season is a great time to break bad habits picked up over the years. One habit I will be trying to shake this season is the habit of defaulting to Google each time I do a search. For me, it is a terrible but very real habit to automatically move to the address bar and type when I need instant information. With the growing number of off-base results we’ve seen at Google over the past few months, I constantly wonder why I fall creature to such a habit, especially as I know there are better options out there.

Here is a short run-down of who else is out there and who is drawing from whom:

* Inktomi is a database that feeds spidered results to HotBot and, (coming soon) Yahoo

* AltaVista, while owned by Overture continues to produce strong and relevant results

* Teoma is the highly innovative search engine that powers Ask.Com (AskJeeves.Com)

* AlltheWeb is also highly innovative and currently powers Lycos

Try one or more of these tools next time you conduct a search in your free time, just to see if you find something you like better than Google. Perhaps Google will again show the highly relevant results we all became addicted to over the past five years. Currently we are not impressed with Google. I understand , on the highest authority that Santa is out-sourcing his delivery to the Googleplex this year to a coal mining operation in eastern Pennsylvania.