Thursday 13 August 2009

The battle for interweb supremacy

Trying to corner the market in (just about everything has been the constant aim of all the major players since they first put their (silicone) chips in play.

From search engines to browsers to 'cloud' applications to desktop widgets and just about everything in between there is something for everyone - and more than often several somethings. So how to choose - who do you decide gets your business? I'm a putting-all-your-eggs-in-one-basket kind of girl. I mostly use Google. It is like the early days of computing when there were two (major) spreadsheet packages Word and Wordperfect. I preferred Wordperfect and so did a lot of other people I've asked - but Word won in the end due to the seamless integration with other parts of the Microsoft Office empire. For me it is the same with Google... I use them so much that everything fits seamlessly from Picasa to YouTube to Blogger to Gmail.

Having said this although at work I use the Google desktop side bar (it came installed on my PC) at home I use the Vista sidebar (it came installed on my PC) and I have no preference for either. I do however rather like the Yahoo! offering of Yahoo! Widgets which are a much slicker looking option.

The ultimate battle, of course, is the battle of the search engines. That is the market to corner. First of all Microsoft re-branded their 'Live' as 'Bing' (which meant that the internet filter at work blocked it for a week whilst it was 'assessed'!)... now Google unveil Caffeine. Not that you can see anything yet as the page is down for 'system maintenance' and will be up in a 'few hours' (since 10am this morning!).C'mon, you know you want to make the joke... de-Caffeinated Google!

Funny how things change... when I first ventured online (back in the mid-nineties) the browser of choice was 'Mosaic' (which used to crash all the time)  and accessed mostly gopher servers - which was followed by Netscape (ah, I loved Netscape) which of course is the grandparent (technologically speaking) of Firefox. Full circle!

Back in the day though (the  age of the information superhighway, remember that), Yahoo! was the search engine of choice. I'm using the term 'search engine' loosely here - the directory format meant that it was more a browsing/surfing experience than the queries that we expect our modern search engines to answer. You can still get the Yahoo! Directory try it if you haven't it is quite excellent for aimlessly wandering in cyberspace.