Enterprise Applications: 10 Top Web Services Offered by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft
10 Top Web Services Offered by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft
by Don Reisinger
Google Search is not only the world's most popular search engine, it's also the most reliable. The service is simple to use, delivers relevant results, and boasts some extra features, like social network integration, that add a little more flavor to the site. Bing and Yahoo are close behind Google, but they just can't quite match the search giant's offering.
Bing Maps delivers the best mapping experience of any similar service on the Web. Aside from delivering up-to-date street information, the app also boasts an outstanding driving-directions tool. But my favorite Bing Maps feature is its "bird's eye view" tool that allows users to view locations in a far more desirable way than what they would find elsewhere. Bing Maps is a really nice service.
Those looking for an outstanding sports and fantasy-league experience will find it with Yahoo Sports. The service delivers up-to-date news, information and scores. Plus, its fantasy sports leagues are widely considered top services on the Web. Yahoo Sports is unmatched.
If users are tired of wrestling with the multiple layers of Microsoft Offices features and options, Google Docs is the ideal replacement. The Web-based productivity suite allows users to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Google Docs' spreadsheet tool isn't as powerful as Excel, so it likely won't appeal to enterprise users who rely on spreadsheets, but it gets the job done.
Gmail is easily the most full-featured e-mail program on the Web. Aside from delivering tons of space and options for users, the service also integrates instant messaging to help users communicate. It even includes its own social network, Google Buzz. Competing services from Microsoft and Yahoo pale in comparison.
Bing Visual Search
Bing Visual Search is easily one of the most interesting and useful search services on the Web. It delivers a unique offering that helps users find content on movies, entertainment, famous people, sports and more. It delivers all that information in a nicely designed package that we just don't see enough in search.
Users looking for the most up-to-date and actionable financial information will find it in Yahoo Finance. Although Google offers a similar service, Yahoo Finance delivers a slew of financial data for users to consult before they decide to buy or sell stocks. It's also a fine place to read news on a particular company. Yahoo Finance doesn't always get the attention it deserves, but it's a nice service.
Google Reader is an RSS reader that allows users to subscribe to Websites and read content from those sites whenever they're updated. Admittedly, Google Reader competes in a crowded space. And there are several products that do a fine job of delivering content. But Google's service offers a great design and some extras, like Recommended Items, that add a bit more value to the service.
On the Web, there are dozens of shopping sites that help users find deals. But none is better designed than Bing Shopping. Microsoft's tool helps users find products they want to buy, determine availability and go to the store with the best price. And thanks to a "cashback" program, folks buying a product from a retailer through Bing Shopping will sometimes receive a discount.
If video is what you seek, your first destination must be Google-owned YouTube. The site boasts millions of videos on just about every topic imagined. YouTube can be educational, interesting and entertaining. It's simply the top video site on the Web, and it easily bests the competition.