There is a story in Business Week on how Google develops new products and how few of them are successful. I have tried many of these products and I have to agree that many under underwhelming. I have a high opinion of Gmail. I think that is has an excellent interface as well plenty of storage. The new Yahoo web mail service is quite good, but it does not support downloading messages with POP3, so I am staying with Gmail. I heavily use Google Maps. It clearly was better then any of the other services when it first came out. Some of the others have been catching up, like local.live.com. I am trying out Google BrowserSync and so far I like it. I am only syncing two computers and only the bookmarks.
I use Picasa, Google’s photo management and editing software. It seems to hit the sweet spot for me of ease of use and power. It does 90% of what I want without fuss. I have been waiting for a new version to come out, but they have been few and far between.
I use the Google Calendar and the Google personalized home page. They are functional but I would give them up quickly if something better came along.
I have also tried Google Reader, Google RSS feed reader, and I did not care for it. I had Google Desktop installed for awhile. I did find that it did a good job at searching my computer, but I did not get anything out of the widgets. I was worried about the privacy implications and I hope that eventually there will be a tool that the does the job without having to run over the network. I tried out Google Page Creator and was underwhelmed.
I tired Google Talk, but I am not really an IM type of person. It has a fatal flaw in that it does not have an audible alert of new messages. I had several conversations with my daughter while she was away at college and if she did not reply immediately I would open a new window and not know when she replied.
For me Gmail is the only surefire hit, but apparently not many people really care about the POP3 downloading as much as me, so it is not been able to overtake Hotmail and Yahoo. The BusinessWeek article points out.
Gmail, the e-mail service that was lauded at its 2004 launch for offering 500 times as much storage space as some rivals (they quickly closed the gap), today is the system of choice for only about one-quarter the number of people who use MSN and Yahoo e-mail.