It's the holidays, so I find myself reading online stuff that really is of no interest to me, but sometimes there are gems in them thar hills, or at least bits of gems.
In an article about rumors about Marissa Mayer quitting Google, I came on this line: "she won promotions first to director and then to vice president mostly by dint of a schedule of robotic overwork and an obsession with keeping the search engine's homepage sparse and free of clutter."
That's it, though: that is 99.99% of why Google triumphed in the late-90s search engine wars. It was sparse, so it loaded faster. Back when we all had dial-up, who wanted to wait for a Yahoo portal to open full of crap ads? Later, in the annoying flicker of popup ads and flash animation and other assaults on our senses, that lovely white Google page became a sort of haven. (Remember when they tried releasing a black version? Ee-yuck!)
If Google has a problem, it's that the Results page is becoming too cluttered with ads - a fault not shared by Clusty. I guess the day of Marissa Mayer is over before she is.