There is an interesting comparison on NYTimes comparing Google with Yahoo, "In the Race With Google, Itâ€™s Consistency vs. â€˜Wowâ€™".Â "Wow" factor might get immediate attention in the media, but consistence and providing the features that make everyday life easy for users makes it a much better click. And on the article at NYTimes, there is an interesting graphic comapring Mail and News traffic on various sites. Google is far below in eMail and Google news sections.
Google maps is certainly a great tool for navigational aspects and for mixing the satelite images on the map. But the major short coming of google maps is that it won't allow users to store their addresses. Every time you visit google maps,Â you have to type both the addresses manually, definitely not a 'wow' but 'ouch'. Yahoo maps allows users to store addresses so that next time you take directions from your house to a musical in your city, you don't have to type your home address again. Another nice feature that I use the most with Yahoo maps is the ability to take a turn-by-turn map. If I am going to a new area, turn by turn maps allows to see the exact turn points on the print out. Google does not offer this either.
Alan Eustace, a senior vice president for engineering and research at Google, said in an interview last week that the company had made a conscious choice to play down copycat features: â€œWe are trying to come up with something that is new and different, that makes people say â€˜Wow.â€™ â€
When asked about the lack of an address book in Google Maps in an interview last fall, Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president for search products and user experience, said it was a gap in the product. She said it was much easier to get the company's engineers to spend time developing pioneering new technology than a much more prosaic address storage system
Thats quite a cover up. If Google really don't want to provide copy cat features and some thing new, they should not have provided email service itself in the first place. Thier news mashup 'Google News' is quite a clone of Yahoo news, just in different look. If all they assume the differentiating factor is just the interface not the content, yeah, their lack of understanding shows up in the traffic reports in content (see the graphic on NYTimes article).
Google maps 'wow' factor is good to navigate and see the actual destination and route in general on the map and in satelite images, but when it comes to taking driving directions, Yahoo offers the 'convenience' and 'needed' factors.