We cover web apps day in, day out. There’s so many great tools on the internet today, it’s hard to imagine living without them. And yet, plenty of people that think web apps are a passing fad, something that filled a gap for native apps that were missing from some platforms but not that essential.
And yet, most of us all rely on web apps even if we don’t think about it. If your site is powered by a CMS like WordPress, you’re relying on a web app. If you use any email service for regular communications, or sync files, or make calls online, you’re relying on web apps. Even if you’re not actively looking for new web apps for your workflow, and don’t rely on tools like IFTTT or online collaboration apps, you’re likely still reliant on web apps. So the question is, could you live without web apps?
For this time, let’s leave Facebook and Twitter out of the equation. Don’t think of social networks, or web apps you use just to pass the time. Instead, think about whether you could actually get your daily work done without any web apps. And yes: Evernote’s native apps, or Dropbox syncing your files, still counts as web apps.
There’s absolutely no way I could live without web apps — after all, AppStorm’s a virtual team and we all work on the web, and my own personal ventures are all on the web. I’d be in quite a mess if every web app I use disappeared tomorrow.
How about you?
We talked earlier this week about our waning trust in Google. They've killed so many products — Wave, Reader, free Apps for Domains — that it's becoming harder to trust them to keep stuff running. It's one thing to keep using their products we're already used to, but trusting something new from Google? That takes a bit of a leap of faith.
We don't expect to see Docs or Gmail to disappear anytime soon, and if Google Search disappears you'll know the end is nigh. But what about their less popular products? Could Google+ get killed, despite how hard Google's tried with it? How about Feedburner, or Blogger? Or will they finally pull the plug on Orkut? AppleInsider even speculated that Android might get left behind in lieu of Chrome, a move that'd be shocking to say the least. But these days, anything's believable it seems.
We can't predict the future, but it's sure fun trying. So let us know what Google product you think will get killed next. My money's on Feedburner, as much as I'd hate to see it go. Yours?
Last week, few people were surprised to see Google launching their latest Nexus 7 tablet. That was rather expected. What surprised us all was the launch of the $35 Chromecast, a HDMI dongle to steam internet video from apps and the Chrome browser to your TV. The feature set and price were interesting, of course, especially after the failure of last year's Nexus Q and Google TV. But what was more interesting, perhaps, was the Chromecast's branding — with the Chrome browser's name, not Android — especially after it was discovered that the Chromecast is powered by a stripped-down Android.
AppleInsider has published a rather interesting piece speculating that Google will eventually drop the Android brand and focus everything on Chrome. Google already makes the majority of their money from search, and Android — despite its popularity and prevalence in smartphones, tablets, and even refrigerators — has yet to make much at all. The Chrome browser, though, is more directly aligned with Google's web interests since it keeps you on the web, where Google's already monetized their services.
It seems an unlikely stretch of imagination to think that Google would drop Android now, but the lack of a new version this year does seem odd. So what do you think? Will Google focus more on Chrome going forward, or will Android continue to be an equally significant part of Google's interests?
My wife and I recently moved to a new-to-us townhouse. Moving’s never easy, but it’s at least gotten us to go through our clothes and stuff, clearing out what we’ll likely never use again and organizing what we’ve kept so we’ll find it easier. It’s still a work in progress, but should be an improvement once we’re settled in.
So it goes with moving to new apps. Google Reader’s demise has forced us all to find a new home for our RSS feeds, and that’s likely made it the perfect time to change how you approach RSS. Fever’s made it easier for me to find the top stuff in the news each day, without having to read through all of my feeds, and finding new apps that work with it has been a fun process. I still essentially read my feeds the same, but I sure enjoy my current setup more than I did Google Reader.
Has the move away from Google Reader changed anything for you? Do you check RSS feeds more or less often with your new app? Or, have you given up on RSS altogether, opting instead for social networking and news aggregators?
Back when Firefox was the cool new upstart browser to use, and IE 6 was still the dominant browser, add-ons were one of the most exciting part of the web. You could tweak your browser, giving it extra features and a brand-new look-and-feel in seconds. They were fun, and the best of them pushed what we all expect from browsers forward.
Then Chrome came along with its promises of speed, and originally had no extensions. Most of us switched — and stayed — for the speed, as well as the clean interface uncluttered by extra buttons. When extensions came back in vogue, it seemed a pity to clutter it too much.
That's why I personally only keep a very few extensions in Safari and Chrome: the Evernote Clipper and 1Password extensions, as well as the Draft.in extension in Chrome. It's all I really need, with everything else (like Instapaper and Pinboard) covered by bookmarklets.
How about you? How many browser extensions do you keep in your browser today? We'd love to hear your favorite browser extensions in the comments below.
The biggest surprise of Apple's 2013 WWDC keynote was not the new versions of iOS and OS X, since those were expected. Rather, it was the iWork Web Apps — browser-based versions of their word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation apps that are nearly perfect copies of their iPad counterparts. We've already looked at the developer preview of the iWork Web Apps at Mac.AppStorm, and they're really good already. They lack collaboration features, but if you're making documents on your own, and especially if you care about your page layout and image presentation, they're a serious contender in the online office space.
But then, you'll have to have an iCloud account to use it — free if you have a Mac or iOS device, but otherwise you're out of luck. And then, there's no way to collaborate with others outside of emailing files, something that is quite the step backwards from Google Docs. But it is pretty, and does format documents much nicer than other online office suites so far.
So how about you? Will you be using iWork online, or are Google Docs good enough for you?
Google Reader died sometime in the wee hours today, with not so much as a Google Doodle to remember it. Google’s leaving Reader’s data in Takeout export for 2 more weeks, but after that, Google Reader will be little more than a memory. It’s high time to move on, if you haven’t already.
We’ve rounded up the 5 best apps to help you move away from Google Reader, all of which are great options. But that’s not all. There’s tons of other RSS readers, including the brand-new Aol. Reader that our writer Justin loved, and many others that we’ve reviewed and that you’ve let us know in the comments that you love. Today, there’s an RSS reader app for everyone, whether you want to install an app on your own server (like Fever, which is what I switched to), would rather see your feeds as a magazine, or want something that is the perfect copy of Google Reader.
That’s why we’d love to know what RSS app you’ve switched to. Select your choice in the poll, then let us know why you chose that app in the comments below.
We're used to paying for lots of things — coffee, computers, cars — but for some reason, many people seem to have an aversion to paying for software. Even if we'll pay for programs for computers and apps for smartphones, paying for a web app seldom crosses most people's minds.
Maybe it's the ecosystem's fault, though. After all, most web apps are free. We've been spoiled with the likes of Google Docs and Gmail, Office Web Apps and WordPress, and even the freemium apps like Evernote and Dropbox that many use without paying a dime. There's so much good stuff out there for free, why pay?
But then, there's a lot of great stuff to pay for, too. If you're a designer or developer, you've likely considered paying for a CMS or hosted site service like Squarespace, and if you're a digital packrat you might already pay for Evernote or Dropbox storage. There's great apps like Pinboard and many of the new feed readers like Feedbin and Feed Wrangler that are paid-only, but they're of course the minority among web apps.
That's why we're wondering if you've ever paid anything for any web apps. If you've ever paid to use a web app, subscribed to the premium version of a web app, or bought a self-hosted web app, it counts, and you can check yes. If you've never paid for any app, or only have bought content online and have never paid for a web-only app, then check no. Then, feel free to share more on your thoughts about paying for web apps in the comments below. We'll look forward to seeing your feedback!
Let’s face it: web apps have a bad name. People are scared of their apps running in a browser, worry when they see the word “cloud” tacked on the front of traditional programs (ala Adobe’s Creative *Cloud*), and cling to legacy apps that are installed on their computers even when there’s better options online.
At the same time, people are using web apps more than ever without realizing it. They’re using native apps for social networks and streaming music services, keeping their files synced with iCloud and Dropbox, keeping in touch with video calls, and more, all over the internet. But making documents in Google Docs? That’s too exotic. The very thought that Photoshop might to the cloud? That’s enough reason to riot!
What is it that has people scared of web apps? In the time you’ve used web apps, what’s made you keep from committing to them and using them full-time?
I’m asking this as a web app fan who uses tons of native apps daily — even though I love web apps, I’ve lost data in them and had them run too slow when my internet connection is flaky to make them worth using. So I’d love to hear what you think keeps people from using web apps. Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
This *would* be our weekly poll, but we’re calling the post a discussion if we don’t have an actual poll and are instead asking for your thoughts, as some of our readers have requested.
If you listened to the claims of startups and entrenched tech giants alike, you’d be led to believe that it’s terribly hard to find and listen to music today. That’s anything but the truth, of course. If anything, it’s easier to find and listen to the music you want today than it’s ever been.
There’s the older, traditional route of buying music on CDs (and even records, if you’re an audiophile), and that still works perfectly fine today. There’s free over-the-air radio, complemented with internet radio often from the same stations. You can likely find most songs you want to listen to in music videos on YouTube, and can keep the song forever with music downloads, either directly from artists or from stores like iTunes and more (as well as less legitimate sources, which are the real reason music industry leaders keep searching for new business models).
But that’s not enough. Now, we’ve got an insane selection of music subscription services, where for a low fee per month you can listen to every song imaginable, and then some. You won’t own any music, but you’ll have more accessible than you could ever listen to. There’s also brand-new in-between services like the new iTunes Radio that give you auto-generated radio streams of songs in a genre you like, with options to buy the songs if you want to listen to them again.
It’s getting to be a bit too much, and sometimes one could wish for a return to the simplicity of just flipping on the radio. So what’s your favorite way to get music nowadays? Are you still listening to traditional radio, buying songs directly, or subscribing to music services? Or are you using a mix of all 3? We’d love to hear your thoughts on music in 2013 in the comments below.