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Google Reader is essentially a walking skeleton now, with its July 1st death looming in the horizon. I used to use Google Reader daily to check up on the news for the world of Mac and Web apps, but finally switched away to Fever after the announcement that Google is killing Reader.

We’ve been looking at tons of different RSS readers here at Web.AppStorm lately, trying to help you find the best app for your news reading needs. But, I was wondering how many of you actually used Google Reader to start with. Our stats show that most of you subscribe to our RSS feed in Google Reader, but do you actually use it normally? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

There’s the Windows Store in Windows 8 and Windows Phone, the App Store in OS X and iOS, and Google Play on Android. Everyone knows where to install apps these days, and it usually doesn’t entail browsing the internet to find an installer. You check the app store on your platform, find what you want, and install. Easy.

On the web, it’s not quite so easy … unless you use the Chrome Web Store. The app store of sorts built into Google’s browser, the Chrome Web Store gives you an easy place to find web apps that’ll work on any computer from your browser. Of course, they’ll only be “installable” in Chrome, but usually they’re real web apps that you could use in any browser, so it gives you a great place to find web apps no matter what browser you prefer to use.

Do you use the Chrome Web Store to find new web apps? Or do you just rely on reviews and recommendations from our site and others for new web apps to try out? We’d love to hear your thoughts about the Chrome Web Store in the comments below!

It’s a new year, and paid digital magazines and newspapers are still the talk of the town online. Traditional media has been hurt by the internet, with subscriber numbers falling and advertising dollars moving online (or disappearing entirely). But then, there’s a growing number of publications with paywalls around their content (like the New York Times), and tablets have given a new boost to digital magazines.

The most interesting thing, though, is the new players. There’s totally new digital magazines, such as The Magazine, launched by Marco Arment of Instapaper fame. It launched on the iPhone, but recently got a web-focused makeover that lets you subscribe online and read articles in your browser or download them in eBook formats. There’s also new long-form journalism efforts such as MATTER, a great new digital publication that brings one long-form article per month, which you can get via a subscription or directly through Kindle.

Last year, we asked if you subscribe to any digital magazines, and over 30% of you said that you did at that time. With all the new choices available now, though, we’re wondering if more of you are subscribing to paid digital publications. Or, have you found that digital editions of magazines didn’t live up to your expectations, and canceled your subscriptions?

If you are subscribing to digital magazines, we’d love to hear which ones you love in the comments below!

There’s web apps for almost everything. You can run a lite version of Microsoft Office online, create surveys, replay classic games, smash pigs, watch movies, listen to almost any song ever written, watch those same songs in videos, and so much more. You can start a blog, or a business, or build legos. You can document your own life, or crawl through the details of others’ lives.

If there’s anything you need to do, chances are there’s a web app to do it. Sure, plenty of web apps aren’t as sophisticated as their native app counterparts, and you can’t run the whole Creative Suite online yet. But there’s apps for almost everything, and plenty of web apps are better than their desktop counterparts, too (quick: think of an app on your desktop to make a poll. Right, I thought so.).

That’s why we’re wondering: what do you need an app for that you can’t find on the web? It could be there’s one out there that you don’t know of, and we can help you find it, or perhaps your idea will prompt a dev among our midst to make a new app.

Here’s your chance: we’d love to hear what web app you’d love to have!

Search = Google.com

For most of the world’s internet users, that’s just about it. There’s Google, and nothing else. People even enter Google into the Google search bar in browsers to bring up the Google.com homepage. It’s a mess.

But then, it’s not surprising that Google is so popular, simply because it works great for search. If you need to find something online, you’re almost guaranteed to find it with Google. And when it just works, and is blazing fast, why fix it? There are alternatives, most notably Microsoft’s Bing, which now powers Yahoo! Search as well. There’s also the underdog DuckDuckGo, which has somewhat of a geek following, but doesn’t seem to be that widely used.

I personally still use Google search, after periods of using both Bing, its predecessor, Live Search, and DuckDuckGo. I always end up coming back to Google. That apparently makes me like most of our search visitors, of which 96% use Google to find our articles.

How about you, our faithful readers? What search engine do you use by default? We’d love to hear your thoughts on why you use – or don’t use – Google.

When you think of web apps to use instead of Microsoft Office, odds are Google Docs is the first thing to pop into your mind. You might even think of Microsoft’s own Office web apps. But one of the largest suites of productivity apps online comes from Zoho.

Zoho’s online suite of office apps started in 2005, and has continued to mature and grow since then. Today, Zoho boasts over 7 million users around the world. And it’s no wonder why: Zoho has full-featured word processing, spreadsheet, presentations, database, project management, CRM, email, file sharing apps, and more. You can use them for free, or get business accounts cheaper than you could with Google or Microsoft. There’s so much Zoho offers, it’d actually be hard for anyone to use all of their apps. You can use Zoho tools to make a website, get stats on your site, invoice and track time, recruit new employees, collaborate with your team … or just write up a Word document.

That’s why we’re wondering how many of our readers use Zoho apps. We’d love to hear what Zoho app you use the most in the comments below!

Twitter continues to be the rising star in social networking, as businesses have latched onto it for its marketing power as an open network. Open, that is, as in public, not as in easy to develop for. 3rd party developers have continued to have trouble with Twitter, which has added user limits and other restrictions to their apps, making it rather obvious that Twitter wants its own apps to be the only full Twitter apps out there. There’s still plenty of apps that work with Twitter, but they’re mostly only for quick sharing to Twitter, and the development of full 3rd party Twitter apps has dropped dramatically.

What has increased are the 3rd party alternatives to Twitter, and the development of apps for them. Most notable has been App.net, the paid social network that’s strikingly similar to Twitter, only with a 256 character limit on posts and no ads. I joined during its initial funding stage last year, wrote about it here, and have continued to use it since daily at @maguay. It works great, though is still very similar to Twitter and continues to be interesting because of the people that are using it more than anything. It’s a friendly, helpful, techie community, though that’s because of the people on it, not the underlying tech.

I was wondering if any of the rest of you are using App.net. Have you tried it, and if so, what are your thoughts on the network?

If there’s one web app that always manages to stir up controversy, it’s Facebook. The world’s largest social network has slowly gotten most of us used to sharing our personal information, locations, pictures, the apps, movies, books, and music we like, and the things that are going on in our lives. Most recently, Facebook has tied all of the likes and personal info we’ve all put into Facebook together, and turned it into the powerful, yet somewhat creepy Graph Search.

Redefining what sharing means with each passing generation hasn’t been without its set of problems. Almost every time Facebook releases a major change, you’ll hear people adamantly declare that this time, they’ll really quit Facebook for good. Then, before long, that dies down, and everyone’s still on Facebook. Google Trends captures this, showing peaks of interest in quitting Facebook after major changes, with a gradual increasing interest in it overtime.

Facebook may not be the most popular brand network – Twitter seems to have stolen that crown, as we saw during the Super Bowl – but Facebook has remained the place where we, well, connect with friends online. Are you still using it, or has the introduction of Graph Search scared you off?

If you’ve ever quit Facebook, or plan to, we’d love to hear your story!

I’m terrible at remembering names. Absolutely terrible at it. If I ran into you in public and you told me your name, I’d likely forget it by the time I said my own name to you. I know that’s bad, and I’m sure trying to improve, but it’s a little problem I have … one that doesn’t seem so terribly uncommon, either.

There’s something that should be a solution for this: your address book or contacts manager. Odds are, your favorite email app lets you manage contacts right inside of it, and you likely already sync it to the address book app on your smartphone and computer. Contacts managers are pretty important, after all: if you can’t remember names, you’ll definitely not remember email addresses, mailing addresses, and everything you else you should remember about everyone you need to keep in touch with.

Truth is, though, I’m terrible about keeping my contacts list cleaned up. I’ll save phone numbers on my phone, emails on my Mac, and totally forget to merge the duplicate contacts. Then, I’ve got contacts for businesses I’ll never need again. It’s quite a mess.

How about you? Do you keep your address book organized? Do you have any tips for keeping your address book from being a total mess? If so, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

As the editor of a site about web apps, and as a guy who happens to be fascinated by web apps in the first place, I’m often torn between using native apps and web apps. There’s so many great great web apps that work so nice with native apps, it’s often easier to use the web app with a native app by default.

One great example is Google Reader. It’s a great service for reading RSS feeds, and with some Greasemonkey tweaking, it can even look nice. But odds are there’s some very nice apps for your favorite platforms – OS X and iOS, in my case – that work with Google Reader too. That’s what I’ve ended up doing. I rely on Google Reader, but only for its service, and seldom use the online app itself in a browser.

Evernote and Simplenote are two other great examples. They have top-notch web apps, but also have their own native apps that make the service work nicer on your favorite devices. With Evernote especially, you’ll get more out of the service by using it along with one of their native apps, so it seems like a no-brainer.

How about you? Do you use your favorite web apps with native apps, or do you prefer to use web apps online-only?

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