I saw that Yahoo released an ajaxish portal today. I tried it, to see if they've improved at all. Let me say, I'm shocked these guys are still around. The site is horrible. First, the home page is filled with ads. I mean the moving, flashing, distracting ads that are so 1999. In addition, the home page has some text ads offering me a range of services I really don't need (Vonage -- no thanks, I don't use the phone that much, domain name registration -- maybe, but does everyone need to see this, "Degrees in as fast as 1 year" -- thanks, I go to a school with reputation, "What’s your credit score 560? 678? 720? - See it free." -- this might as well be in my spam folder).
The featured items on the page are completely irrelevent to most people. In the prime location on the page, I'm offered a contest to "Design Janet Jackson's new album cover". The Yahoo Pulse tells me that the number one "Top Guilty Pleasures Ringtones" is "PYT Pretty Young..." by Michael Jackson.
Well, at least the page has a search box. The focus is on the text box by default (good!), so I can get going right away. Let's give Yahoo a hard search, linq. This is the C# 3.0 Object/Relational mapping. Typical search, not really. But I want a search engine that finds things that are hard to find.
It turns out that Yahoo and Google have about the same search results. However, the difference is in the ads.
Each page has more ads, however for advertisers, the top three are the most important spots, so I'm just going to look at those. The Yahoo ads in positions 1 and 3 offer me some obscure products that happen to be named "linq". Yahoo ad 2 links to www.restaurant.com with no connection what so ever to linq. Compare this to the Google ads, all of which might be relevent to somebody looking at O/R mapping in .NET. Let's just say Google is getting lots more revenue from its ads.
Ok, let's give Yahoo a break. I'll try an easy query "restaurant". Yahoo highlights restaurant results in Pittsburgh (right now, I'm in CA). Now, I know I've used Yahoo's farechase to find flights from PIT to SFO, but my IP address should very clearly tell Yahoo where I am. All of Yahoo's ads are for restaurant supplies Now, Google doesn't try to highlight local restaurants (to do that I have to say "restaurant near mountain view ca"), however the ads are geo-targeted, giving local restaurants (not restaurant suppliers).
Well, I don't think I'll be changing my home page any time soon. There are some things I did like about Yahoo's design (I really like that you can change from Web to Image search without the page being refreshed. Google should totally copy that idea). However, it's pretty clear why Google has so many users.