In the Race With Google, It's Consistency vs. 'Wow' - New York Times: "Do Internet users prefer services that are consistent and predictable, like those offered by Yahoo, or are they more interested in Google's wow factor? These two approaches define a pivotal front in the battle for online loyalty between the major players in the Internet search business. "
Timely reality check, with some interesting stats, e.g.,
"Google, by contrast, is much less consistent. Its map service is now a very close third behind MapQuest and Yahoo. And the two-year-old Gmail is now the No. 4 e-mail service in the country, with 8.6 million users in June. That is not bad in a market where people do not switch e-mail addresses casually. But over the last year, according to comScore, Yahoo added 11.8 million e-mail users, more than Gmail’s entire user base.
Moreover, some of Google’s products are languishing. Its Google Talk chat software had only 44,000 users in June, according to comScore. And its Orkut social networking service had 279,000 users in the United States, although it is quite popular in Brazil."