You use Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). You trust Google. Still, deep down inside, you may very well loathe Google. It's the country's search engine of choice, but that doesn't make it the best.

Maybe you like the thumbnail preview of search-result landing pages on IAC/InterActiveCorp's (NASDAQ:IACI) Seth Jayson is a fan of Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Live Search tool for Windows Mobile, and I love the functional versatility of Microsoft's image search.

As cybersurfers, we would love the chance to play Dr. Frankenstein -- cherry-picking the best that each search engine has to offer -- but it's a theoretical pursuit at best. Just don't tell Google. If it has its way, even Dr. Frankenstein won't have to rob graves to assemble the body parts for the perfect search engine.

The quest to be the best
Universal search is Google's goal. Over the next few years, Big G wants to make its searches better and all-inclusive. Right now, you have to go to specific pages to perform tasks like patent searches or book-text inquiries. is still good enough for nearly two-thirds of the site's traffic, but Google wants it all.

Where the URLS Are:










Naturally, it's not going to be easy. You can't please everybody, and universal one-click solutions are the stuff of dancing-sugarplum dreams. However, as Google gets older, it hopes to get smarter and more intuitive.

Like the friendly cruise-ship waiter who knows just what you need by the last night at sea, Google is already trying to anticipate what you want. Four years ago, the site began offering stock information if you entered a ticker symbol. I'm guessing that Ragu is still smarting over how Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) comes up before the Italian sauce specialist's website if you enter "eat" into the search box.

Two years ago, Google began returning travel information if you entered a pair of destinations in the search box. Rival Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) is also making a big push as a gateway to trip planning.

I wasn't at the Googleplex yesterday as the company walked journalists through its vision of the future, but the examples cited in articles from reporters who were there indicate that the company will be taking more steps in this direction. From integrating YouTube videos to Google Maps into searches, the company wants to get it right the first time.

Some of the universal search features are being rolled out this week. Type in terms like "roller coaster" or "James Bond," and you now have the option to go with its flagship Web search or scour available videos through YouTube or Google Video. That's an easy evolutionary step, but it's a two-click solution. The Utopian solution is going to take time.

It won't be easy. If you enter "mia" in Google, it wants to know if you are referring to soccer star Mia Hamm, the airport code for Miami International Airport, or a list of military personnel that have been lost in action. It's a battle that will ultimately pit convenience against privacy-rights advocates.  

Searching for Mr. Good Toolbar
Yes, we invite search engines into our lives. We download the toolbars. We consume the cookies. We believe that the key to better search lies in the algorithms, when it's really more like a fortune teller trying to get it right by sizing up a paying customer's appearance.

Google wants to do it all, but the concept of "universal search" is just another way of saying that Google wants to be a master of all trades. It already has to make tough decisions, like bumping Froogle (now known as Google Products) off the home page last year to make room for video search. The Google landing page that used to pride itself on simplicity now has a laundry list of options under the "more" tab that didn't seem necessary when Google was just a really, really good search engine.

These days, Google wants to man your socialite calendar, serve as your blog's hitching post, and host your digital snapshot collection. The push to unify its services won't be easy. Google wants you to think that it's thin, even if it has spent the past few years pigging out at the buffet line.

It doesn't seem possible. Then again, we've all seen Google do some pretty amazing things over the years. It has revolutionized online advertising and rescued many third-party content sites in the process. It is legitimizing the logic of Web-stored application software. It finds you reading to the end of this article, even if you still -- deep down inside -- loathe Google.

That has to count for something. So the next time that Google asks whether it looks fat in its latest Web address, bite your lip. "No, dear" are the two words that will spare you a spat as you grab the keys to drive Google to the nearest all-you-can-eat restaurant.

For more Foolish search results:

Yahoo! is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter pick. Microsoft is an Inside Value recommendation, and is a Rule Breakers selection. Try sampling any or all of the three newsletters with a free 30-day trial subscription, if only to see which one suits your investing style the best.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a huge fan of Google, and it would be his home page if it weren't for taking up that piece of real estate. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.