I’ve used Yahoo mail for years. When Gmail (beta) came out I signed on. The impact of Gmail was immense. Yahoo amd MSN were forced to dramatically increase email storage. That solved the problem of having to go through your email every few months and ruthlessly purge stuff. But Gmail had another advantage. It received mail without you having to do anything. Its secret was a technology called AJAX that lets browser based applications interact with the server discretely, rather than a page at a time.

Mozilla and Opera introduced the concept of tabbed browsers. As I look up at my tab bar I see 12 active tabs. That’s a lot easier to manage and switch between than individual windows, the Internet Explorer alternative. Open Gmail in one tab and let it sit there doing its thing. Want to check for incoming email? Click the tab with Gmail icon and you’re done. With Yahoo, you’d have to click another button and wait for a page refresh.

Yahoo couldn’t let Gmail hold such a technological lead, so they’ve introduced their own beta release. It looks much nicer than Gmail, mainly because it looks like a desktop application with icons, subtly shaded screen elements, and lots of features. The ads that pay for these free services are not too intrusive. Gmail reads your email and shows you ads related to the content of your personal email. When I was discussing IVF treatment with one of my marathon friends I got ads keyed to that theme. It seemed just a bit too nosey.

In my view, Yahoo has leap-frogged Google on the email front.

I have been using Firefox as my default browser for a while. I even use it at work even though we’re supposed to use IE6. When I heard about the IE7 download, I went for it. It blew me away. It has tabs and they are very well implemented. It has trimmed all the fat. It’s quick. It saves images instantly where Mozilla and Firefox take forever. If I could figure out how to import all my Firefox bookmarks I’d switch in an instant.

Scores: IE7 4/5, Firefox 3/5, Yahoo Mail 4/5, Gmail 3/5.

Gotta love competition; gotta love capitalism. Someone should tell the leftist yahoos who run Google that undermining America undermines them.