Thursday, June 19, 2008

Google vs Yahoo?

An issue I've been wrestling with forever is the relative merits of Google online services versus those of Yahoo and Microsoft. I've gone with Google for this blog, for example, because 1. the Mount Rainier Climbing blog was already on Google, 2. Microsoft doesn't really have blog resources, and 3. Yahoo 360 is flagged as an "inappropriate" website by our government network and is therefore inaccessible from my work computer (go figure).

I've set up a Google discussion group, calendar, and photo collection on Google mainly because the blog is already here. However, Yahoo's discussion groups have a lot of very attractive features, including the ability to easily share photos and files with other group members, and an integrated calendar shared by group members. The Sunrise Meadow Rovers have a great Yahoo group in which they've used this calendar feature to share offers and requests for rides to the Mountain. I'm not very familiar with the options available through MSN. Google has a calendar feature that is available to multiple users, but each person has to be added individually (i.e. it's not integrated with the Google Groups feature).

Both Google and Yahoo have great photo sharing resources (Yahoo's is called Flickr), and I have an ongoing debate with friends of mine about which service is better. I personally think they're comparable except for Yahoo's superior ability to form "photo pools" among multiple users whose pictures share a common theme--which, you have to admit, would be a cool tool for promoting our volunteer program.

Both Google and Yahoo allow "non-members" to browse their content, but you have to be a member to contribute (e.g. to the discussion groups, photo pools, and calendars). Membership is free, but it's another login and password to remember--and if you're active on both Yahoo AND Google, it's two of them. So if you have a blog on Google and photos or a discussion group on Yahoo, you have to log in twice.

Ultimately, these resources are meant to benefit our volunteers, so I'd like to know what you think. Which option is best?

  1. Keep everything on Google, even if some applications like discussion groups and calendars are imperfect;
  2. Use the most functional pieces of both services, e.g. a Google blog but Yahoo discussion group; or
  3. Use both services simultaneously, e.g. have both a Google discussion group and a Yahoo one; or
  4. Are there other services, notably through Microsoft, which is in our back yard after all, that I haven't even considered yet?

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