I was reading Kevin and John Battelle's response to Ben's article in the Guardian, and I have only one thing to say about it all:
If you think Google is washed out and has 'jumped the shark', I'm okay with you not using it.
Feel free to try out Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, MSN. I'm confident you'll be back sooner or later and I'm not hugely worried about it. I'm sure Yahoo/AJ/et al are terrific places, and have terrific people working for them, but I've never, ever, worked at a place like Google. It's amazing. Shocking. Desperately insanely great. That's why I don't worry. Google creates amazing things and thus I don't worry about losing Ben or Bens permanently to Yahoo.
One thing I agree with Ben about is that Flickr is a great site. Stuart and company did a terrific job building a terrific site. With regards to photography, only Photo.net comes close, and they are -very- different sites.