Today Google dominates Web search to such a degree that new challengers such as Wikia Search and Cuil are shrugged aside before they even have a chance to show what they can do. But it wasn't that long ago that Google was the small-fry upstart given little chance to unseat the dominant search engines of the day.
From early on in the growth of the Web, most users' first action was to try to find new and relevant content, and search engines quickly grew to fill that need. And unlike most other core elements of the Web, which tend to be open and standards-based, for the most part Web search has been done by commercial companies using patented and closed methodologies. This has led to a good deal of competition and growth but has set search apart from the rest of the Web.
Still, Web search has seen its fair share of innovation, and from the early days of the Web to today, search engines have greatly influenced the direction of the Web and the Internet.
In this list of The 10 Most Innovative Web Search Engines, I look back at some of the search engines that had a big impact on how people used the Web and how the Web itself grew. Take a look and let me know what search engines and sites you thought were the most influential and innovative.