Google has been IMHO the leader in free Internet consumer services. They create innovative ish, which then causes Yahoo & the others to catch up. Off top, there's these 2 big examples
1 free email accounts, Google offered 1 GB quota when Yahoo had something trivial like 50 MB
2 maps & directions, Google had satellite view when mapquest was very basic
Google has a new innovation Streetview. For some big cities on a few big streets, you can actually scroll as if you were walking or driving on it. I suppose one can now preview how to walk from a subway station to their location, for instance. Quite greater!