Those 800-gigabyte gorillas of the Web, Google and Yahoo!, are locked in a furious battle to capture our eyeballs--and the winner, so far, is the user. Each portal has launched a flurry of nifty features and cool tools in the past few months. Here's a guide to the best new stuff. --By Jeremy Caplan
This software, available as a free download at earth.google.com lets PC users navigate a 3-D map of the globe, jumping from city to city and seeing remarkably detailed satellite images.
A suite of 15 experimental tools such as Web Accelerator, which speeds up surfing; Ride Finder, a way to locate taxis; and Froogle Wireless, for comparing product prices on your cell phone.
Google has scanned thousands of books--with more to come--whose text you can now search. You can't read the whole volume, but you can see a digital image of the relevant pages.
Windows users who download Google's video player can see free clips of news, entertainment and more. Though the service is still in its infancy, it's useful for watching tidbits of TV shows you missed.
Yahoo!'s virtual laboratory at next.yahoo.com offers experimental tools like Mindset, which lets you sort search results according to what you're doing, such as shopping or researching.
This is like Friendster, Blogger and a newsgroup rolled into one. Create an online club with friends or family members and keep a journal with photos and lists of your favorite books, songs and movies.
YAHOO! MY WEB 2.0
My Web lets you tag interesting sites, news stories and blogs, store them in a searchable database and share your finds with friends. You can also see what sites other users have deemed tagworthy.
Coming this summer: a new version of the Web's most popular e-mail service that will feature a sleek interface designed to improve the reading, sorting and composing of messages.
MEANWHILE, AT AOL AND MSN
AOL has launched a preview of its new free Web portal, featuring a good video search that has already indexed more than 1 million video clips
Later this summer, MSN will debut its Virtual Earth feature, which will compete with Google Earth and offer even more detailed images. Its new search page, search.msn.com has a "local search" feature and is increasingly powerful and easy to use