Yahoo! has continued its market share slide in relation to Google in online search. That is not at all surprising. Writers and stock analysts have put an awful lot of attention on those stats in recent years and it's more or less official: Google has won the battle for your random thoughts...and your want of porn.
Over the last few months, however, Yahoo! has been kicking Google's ass in another pretty huge arena: Planet Earth.
Google may have the most innovative non-military, non-intelligence-industry mapping software in the world (no pun intended) in Google Earth, but that mashed up orb exists only online. In contrast, Yahoo! has focused its clout on the earth that all of us actually inhabit -- on the air we breathe and climate we warm up -- by launching a company-wide carbon neutral program and a "greenest city challenge" over the past few weeks. Google, Microsoft, News Corp and their myriad step-children are scrambling to catch up.
The Yahoo! "Greenest City" Challenge kicked off with a fleet donation of hybrid taxis to NYC, and even beat mayor Bloomberg to the punch in his recent announcement that New York's 1,200 gas guzzling, CO2 spewing Crown Victorias would be phased out and replaced with hybrids.
It's not complicated. The folks at Yahoo! simply decided to do something that would make a tangible difference and educate their hundreds of millions of users in the process. And they didn't throw money down a hole by just buying up carbon credits. They are putting the company's financial, human, and creative resources behind everything they're doing.
Essentially, Yahoo! is challenging people to take a pledge to reduce their carbon, to answer green questions on Y! Answers, or to get environmental information on Y! Mobile. The city that demonstrates the most civic engagement through the challenge will also receive a fleet of hybrid taxis or cash equivalent to green some other aspect of their city. More info is at http://better.yahoo.com/planet/. For anyone who throws their voice and energy into the mix, Yahoo! will even make sure you get a free compact fluorescent light bulb ...just for participating.
On the Carbon Neutral front, this is Yahoo!'s take on exactly what they're doing and how they're doing it. Co-founder David Filo offered this inside scoop, and this is probably the best article I've seen about all the various initiatives they're taking on.
At the heart of Yahoo!'s well-funded and well-planned push to green themselves (and the rest of us) are a handful of extraordinary business women on a small but influential team which make up Yahoo! for Good. Google and the rest may be the current kings of search, software, and silicon, but on the green front, every other big player in the Valley needs to take a page from Yahoo! for Good's book. Knowing them, I bet they'd share.