"Google came along with a better search engine algorithm"
I know I may only speak for myself, but the main reason I switched to google over yahoo back in last millenium was the absence of crud.
Yahoo was already a "portal" with tons of crappy categories, links, ads on the search page.
Google was a single picture, a text field and two buttons.
If you remember the speed of '99 internet, you'll probably understand why "better algorithm" was not that high on the priority list.