Google vs MSN debate....IE Toolbars, IM, Desktop Search, Blogs, and Email - oh my!
I have used a combination of Microsoft MSN and Google internet tools and services for years now, and have flipped back and forth a few times on my preferences Here is where I currently stand with my usage of Google tools & services vs. Microsoft MSN tools & services:
- Instant Messaging (IM) - I started using IM in 1997 with ICQ during a huge Ultima Online(UO) binge lasting 3 years until I quit both UO and ICQ and switched to MSN Messenger. I installed Skype back in 2003, and uninstalled it a couple months later, out of boredom. I still have MSN Messenger installed, however I added Google Talk shortly after its launch. It sits idle 99% of the time since most of my friends and family won't switch to it. I never used AIM or Yahoo messging, and nolonger have an ICQ account, so the Jabber support doesnt really help me.
- Desktop Search - I loved Google Desktop Search(GDS) since it was the first to market, and used it since the first beta was posted. However, I uninstalled GDS from my laptop on 09/20/05 and switched to MSN Toolbar/Desktop Search. This was at least partially due to sessions and discussions at PDC05. However, I still have GDS on my home PC.
- IE Toolbars - I tried the original Google Toolbar back in 2003, but didnt really care for it, and uninstalled shortly after. Later, I tried the early MSN toolbar and had the same experience, so its gone now. Next, the Google Sidebar came down in a GDS update, so I tried and loved it for a while. Later I got tired of it and tried to remove the sidebar, but it wouldnt let me. The only option was to switch to the desktop band toolbar search box, or remove GDS entirely. This led to me removing GDS entirely on 09/20/05 when I setup my new laptop. I'm now running the MSN Search Toolbar that is installed with MSN Desktop Search. Luckily I can easily turn off that one, so it may stick.
- Email - I have used Hotmail for years and years now. Probably around when it first went mainstream. I still have that account and use it somewhat. Mostly its used for my passport account so it won't go away anytime soon. I added GMail upon its inital launch. I fell in love with Gmail and use it now as my primary email service. Most of my friends use Gmail too, but almost all of us keep that Hotmail account around just in case something changes there. Based upon what I heard about Hotmail at PDC - the new "FireAnt" driven framework (read Atlas or Ajax) for Hotmail promises to give it some renewed life. They said they were targeting a look and feel much like Outlook Web Access (OWA) which isnt super exciting to me, since I use it alot for work, but its still promising. Stay tuned...
- Blogs - My first blog was on BlogSpot (before Google bought them) but I quickly jumped on the Weblogs.ASP.NET bandwagon when I heard about the early versions of .TEXT. Now, Microsoft has their MSN Spaces blogs (I don't count the ASP.NET blogs since they are really just Telligent's Community Server), and Google now has BlogSpot. I REALLY dislike the MSN Spaces blogs, and havent tried the latest version of Google's Blogger service, so I can't really compare.
So, I guess its more or less a tie at the moment. I definitely have more Microsoft/MSN tools and services installed, but Google's domination with GMail pretty much balances-out the other tools since Email is such a key technology.
It would be nice to see some real research done in these areas to see how they break down nationwide/worldwide. Also, I have little experience with the AOL and Yahoo offerings, so their impact would be good to see too. Can anyone point me at such research anywhere on the web?