At Yahoo—or anywhere—”eating your own dog food” can be hard

Outgoing Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer spoke at a conference today and said how much she’s looking forward to returning to using Gmail, a service she helped launch during her earlier tenure at Google. She followed up by tweeting that she also loves Yahoo Mail and will continue to use it as well. But if she ever snuck a peek at her Gmail while at Yahoo, she wouldn’t have been alone.

A former Yahoo tells me that while employees were officially expected to use Yahoo Mail at work, many quietly avoided it in favor of Gmail. (I suspect the same is true at any company that isn’t standardized on Gmail.) Yahoo staffers also used Google tools for purposes such as instant messaging and video conferencing; even the big bosses eventually abandoned Yahoo’s home-brewed video-conferencing service.

None of this sounds as bad as the situation years ago at AOL, where, I was once told, employees were not only required to use AOL Mail for work but were also prevented by the company’s network from accessing any other form of email.

[Photo: Flickr user World Economic Forum