It is my belief that Yahoo had been lagging in leadership and innovation for too long. It reigned as king of Internet services for a while. But like so many other companies that eventually diminished, Yahoo became a purely profit-driven company instead of being consumer-, innovation- and technology-driven. It bought several companies to help boost its bottom line, but failed to truly harness their potentials as useful technologies that could make a difference.
The Beginning of A Dynasty
Entered Google. The latest big thing in business and technology. A few years after Google introduced its search engine with deadly accuracy, pure speed and glowing simplicity (v.s. Yahoo’s busy portal and ad-infested results). Being a technology and innovation driven company, Google did not stop there; it went on to radically redefine the way web services are used and integrated. Take for example, compare the aging Yahoo Map to Google’s stunning and innovative Google Map. I simply don’t see how Yahoo could (or would) EVER create anything even remotely close to the power of Google Maps. Satellite view from Yahoo? Forget about it. Web-based maps would never have been the same without Google.
Gmail Changes Everything
Now take another look at Google’s Google Gmail system. Nobody had even considered offering huge free email accounts in a database online until Gmail. The notion that having 1+ GB of free email space was simply absurd at the time. Both Yahoo and Hotmail had just begun charging their customers for premium services for up to 200MB of email space. Not to be outdone, Yahoo immediately introduced its plans to upgrade all its free and premium customers to match that of Gmail’s offering.
Too little, too late. Gmail started to experiment with giving 2GB of storage space. And before Yahoo could even react, Gmail decided, what the heck, why not increase the storage for ALL of its users by a small fraction every second — forever. And Yahoo’s strategy? None yet. Microsoft quietly upgraded their storage capacity as well, not bothering to make a big deal out of it. After all, email service is not its core business. With its monopoly, Microsoft will probably find ways to crush Google with the help of the Republican leadership.
Yahoo Battles for Survival
To Yahoo’s credit, they did find and bought out a small and fast growing online email client, Oddpost. Oddpost (only available on IE-compatible browsers on Windows) had probably the most advanced online interface almost mirroring that of Microsoft Outlook Express. A lot of heavy DHTML on the interface.
But what happened to Oddpost after almost two years? Nada. No integration of its technology into the boring Yahoo Mail interface. But Yahoo has millions of users; its market size is not going to shrink significantly…. for now.
Expect More from Google
There are so many great technologies on the horizen from Google. Just check out its Google Labs and imagine how these services can benfit your life. Instead of keeping emerging technologies secret, Google welcomes early adapters to chew on, spit on, kick around and take its latest hacks for a test drive. As for Yahoo, I haven’t seen any noticeable innovation coming out of them in years. The last big splash was the revamping of its home page a few years ago with glitzy graphics and colors.
Long live Google with all your innovations.
Yahoo — catch up, innovate or die.
Google, when are you going to get into ecommerce hosing business now that you seem to be getting into the game of ecommerce transactions? I can’t wait to see what kind of tricks you have in your bags to show Yahoo how it’s really done.