In-depth comparison of Y! vs. WinLive/MSN sites and services

So when the big two collide, some services will stay, while some will go. OR some services will just be combined.

It wouldn’t make sense to keep two VERY similar things going, would it? So they’re going to have to cut down the redundancy a bit by keeping the best parts, and dropping the loser parts. Long Zheng made a rather good table showing what Yahoo! and Windows Live and MSN have in common. I’m going to improve this table by adding more details, what I think will win over, and add more.

                          (Windows Live & MSN)
Content Portal                
WINS : Better layout, design, customization, looks, and it’s just better to open up a browser with.
LOSES : Sorry, but the MSN page is still rather bland after all these years. Customization is very small, modules are too rigid, and there’s really nothing super appealing.
International status                    Yahoo! International sites
LOSES : 36 international sites. Though to be fair, I still think the Y! sites are far better looking to work with. I couldn’t find any choices for language options.
                            MSN’s International sites
WINS : 42 international sites.
NineMSN has to be the best of all MSN sites. I counted 58 total languages on the Language options on the site.
Account Management                         Yahoo! ID
LOSES : Trying to edit your info. on your account is quite a hassle, and you can’t even change your birthdate! The site is hard to navigate, and info. isn’t displayed that well.
                                  Live ID
WINS : Easy to get to, edit, navigate, and find. You can link up to 5 of your multiple ID’s together. Far easier to work with and not as restrictive.
Start Page                            MyYahoo!
WINS : Very friendly UI, lots of quality gadgets, easy to get gadgets straight from the page, smart coding
LOSES : has the basics and is ok, but it can’t be MyYahoo!. Plus most gadgets are rather weak and pathetic. MyMSN still lives in the 90’s era.
Search                        Yahoo! Search
LOSES : You’d think the 2nd largest search engine would have a better search. But Y! Search really sucks. Only until recently, Y! Search was ugly and didn’t get the results right as much as Google and Live. The only appealing thing now is Search Assist.
                          Live Search
WINS : Images and Video are truly revolutionary. Web search also does well, along with extras. Academic, Book, and News search are also rather fine.
Maps                      Yahoo! Maps
LOSES : Even with the latest updates, Y! Maps still has nothing going for it. Panning around is laggy and slow. UI is horrible. Far too many ads. It’s just plain crud. Probably worst on the web.
                         Live Maps
WINS : Better looking UI, far more advanced controls, 3D mode, birds-eye-views, full color 3D cities, more accurate results, easy to save collections, and much more. Practically the best mapping service on the web.
Instant Messenger                     Yahoo! Messenger
LOSES : If we’re not talking about the Vista version, Y! IM isn’t really as good. Games are horrible and limited, not many add-ons, and it’s not as full featured as WLM. Plus the Vista version has lots of bugs. Only good stuff is the emoticons, better mobile/VOIP support, and chatrooms.
                        Live Messenger
WINS : Best IM client there is. Very customizable, lots of add-ons, status message, online status, lots of activities and games, folder sharing, contact card, and I can go on and on. It does need better mobile/VOIP support, browser client, needs to lose tabs and other minor stuff. Plus you can save the world by using it.
Mail                  Yahoo! Mail
TIE : This was a toughie. Y! Mail has RSS feeds, ease of message transition to e-mail/IM/text, web messenger, tabbed mail, many options, better look, and a bit better search. But it can be pretty complicated, no good POP3/IMAP, can’t group contacts, frequent spam, among other things.
                         Live Hotmail
TIE : This was a toughie. Live Hotmail has less ads, simpler layout, group contacts, preview pane option, option to skip Today page, and a well-built spam filter. But they layout could still use some fixing, needs better support for other browsers, web messengers, among other much-needed features.
Photo Sharing                               Flickr
WINS : Best photo site there is. Great UI design, very simplistic, easy to search for good photos, high-quality, groups, geotagging, favoriting,
Picnik photo tools, among many nice things. However there is a rather steep yearly price just to post many more photos, and hopefully the acquisition will fix that.
                           Live Spaces
LOSES : Sorry, but even with the nice new visitors’ tools, Live Spaces isn’t really the place to share with a "big" community. Only friends or occasional random visitor. You can’t tag, search for photos, annotate, fix up, or any of that stuff. It’s just sharing photos for mainly your friends only.
Blogging                              360°
LOSES : It is pretty friendly to work with, fast-loading, and works with other Y! services on there. but it’s far too simple, and not much advacned blogging tools. 360 is kinda a Y! failure.
                          Live Spaces
WINS : Great for amateur blogging and something simple. Nice editing tools,
blogging desktop client, customizability, gadget modules, better friends feature, etc. If you want simple blogging, this is a good site. However, other features are not.
Mobile Platform                         Yahoo! Mobile
TIE : Y! wins by offering a rich UI, but the search really isn’t that good, and it can be slow. Maps are horrible.
                            Live Mobile
TIE : Live has the better search of the two. Local places are shown better and direction are easier, mobile versions of websites show up in the results, and it’s speedier. Though the UI needs a better look.
Question & Answer service                         Yahoo! Answers
WINS : Great site to give questions and answers. Very friendly, many users, lots of features, and you always learn something new. However, Y!’s been known to suspend accounts on typically minor things, very lax reporting, and the search is cruddy.
                          Live QnA
LOSES : It’s been a year since the last update, options are very limited, can not add contacts from site, lack of features among other things makes it a real loser. The ease of getting points, tagging, and better search does give some points.

So obviously most of the losers will die, with only a few of it’s good feature moving on. So only the best parts about each side will survive, and come under one brand. I don’t know if the brand will still stay the same, but who knows. It’s a new beginning once the acquisition is done.

I’ll update the list more later. Any suggestions?


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