"In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on New York
and Washington on Sept. 11, popular news Web sites such as CNN.com
and ABCNEWS.com were overwhelmed with a deluge of people grasping
for the latest information. For many, the sites were inaccessible.
Into the breach stepped Google Inc., the search engine company. It
had made copies of the news pages before the crush and offered them
up on its site.
Those events were obviously exceptional, but they illustrate the
role that Google has come to play. For many Web surfers, it's the
vital intermediary between what they want to know and the answers
that are out there somewhere on the vast Net.
Google's rise has been remarkable. In just three years, despite
spending nothing on marketing, its search engine has become the
15th-most-visited Web site in the U.S., according to Jupiter Media
Metrix Inc. With the company handling 120 million Web searches
every day, Google's traffic has leaped 73% so far this year, making
it the top pure search site on the Web."