With the majority of educators who I read online or talk to face to face going goo-goo, ga-ga, over Google, I often feel like a minority. That really comes into play (to my detriment may I add) when I want to collaborate with others online. It’s always, “let’s collaborate using Google docs”, or “what’s your GMail address?” Being traditionally a Yahoo! kind of guy, I wanted to respectfully pass on a message to all my educator colleagues around the world – there are really good alternatives to Google.
The Email Application:
We all know that Yahoo! has always done web email very well and with the ability now to drag and drop messages/folders and use keyboard shortcuts, their web mail is beginning to feel a lot like a desktop application. However, I’ve spent some time rediscovering Yahoo! beyond just it’s robust web email service and was surprised at what I saw. To avoid the infamous Google Reader, I had previously used Pageflakes as my RSS reader. While Pageflakes is great as a start page, it’s RSS reader is clumsy and a pain to navigate. To my delight, Yahoo! has an RSS feed reader built right into it’s email client so I can check my e-mail and my RSS feeds all in one place. As a matter of fact, I can also send SMS and chat messages from within the email client as well. In addition, the email client supports tabs so that I can write an email in one tab, have an RSS feed open in another tab and maintain a chat conversation in another all from Yahoo’s email client.
Remember del.icio.us, Jumpcut and Flickr? All Yahoo! apps. I’m actually quite fortunate as I have access to the pro versions of Jumpcut and Flickr at no extra cost because of the partnership my ISP (Rogers Communications in Canada) has with Yahoo! and let me tell you how happy I am with Flickr. If you use the free version and think that it’s awesome, then you can image how much better the pro version is with unlimited uploading, storage and bandwith. Look out YouTube, Flickr now does video too! What Yahoo! doesn’t have, however, is a good office suite like Google’s docs, notebook, and spreadsheet. However, that is quickly overcome by the fact that one can use their Yahoo! username and password to access Zoho’s full suite of apps that, in my opinion, compares quite favourably to what Google has to offer.
Ladies and gentleman in education, please be aware that while Google offers good products but so do others. Also keep in mind that Google has an age restriction that disqualifies most students in K-12 from using the service. You can read more about that here: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13739_3-9902548-46.html. Yahoo! is much more lenient with their age restrictions. Take another look at Yahoo!. You may be surprised at what you discover.