Tuesday, July 26

Google is to Apple as Yahoo is to Wintel?

In explaining the appeal of Apple over Wintel in a recent WSJ column, Lee Gomes recently had this to say about the search engine rivalry:

The Apple vs. IBM/Microsoft/Dell tension shows up in other areas of technology. For example, Google arguably plays Apple to Yahoo's Windows. Google's home page is full of high concept white space, with its name in a rainbow of colors reminiscent of the Apple logo before Mr. Jobs bleached it. The Yahoo home page, by contrast, has the aesthetics of a strip mall, in both the good and bad sense of that phrase.

Hmph, well, I guess it's been a long time since I was a bona fide Mac fanatic, so I can't really protest over my allegience to Yahoo's lackluster (but more useful) interface.

As an aside, I'm all in favor of the healthy competition between search engine providers, an arms race that shows no sign of slowing. The latest development is Yahoo's acquisition of Konfabulator, a three-employee company making software "widgets" that monitor the weather, stock prices and "a wealth of other customized information" without using a Web browser. (Ironically, they're most popular on the Mac.) Also this week, MSN took a cue from Google Earth to launch a widely expanded mapping website that merges the ever-popular satellite images with road names and location markers. (Google immediately followed suit with its own "hybrid" mapping option.)

Meanwhile, back in Apple world, the WSJ has leaked word that the video iPod is coming this September. Maybe that will be the killer app to lure me back from the functional to the aspirational side of the consumer spectrum.