Yesterday was Thanksgiving and we were reminded of the things were are thankful for every day. While I could list many things in my life that I am far more thankful for than web apps, I thought it might be a good opportunity to express my gratitude for the time and money-saving technologies. Google has predicted that web apps (programs that run in your browser instead of being installed on your computer) will beat out traditional apps in the long-run. For now, I can certainly see the benefits of traditional apps, but there are also some major benefits from web apps. Here is a short list of only a few web apps I am thankful for:
This has to be the biggie in my book. Create documents, spreadsheets, and now presentations online for free. Then, share them for editing or viewing with anyone. I used Google Docs to work on my 2009 entry for NaNoWriMo and I think it has been one of my most beneficial uses of technology. I did not have to worry about carrying my flash drive or using a computer with the same version of MS Office. I could just sit down, log in, and start writing again.
The presentation tool is still new and needs development. However, it is simple to create a quick presentation and show it online, all while using integrated collaboration to communicate with your audience. You can see a sample here. This was a five-minute creation using only Google’s built-in tools and themes.
More than once, I have found myself in need of PhotoShop or the Gimp but did not have either available. Rather than going out and downloading GTK and the Gimp so I can resize, recolor, or add text to an image, I simply go to Splashup.com. In less time than it takes Gimp to cache my fonts, I am working with layers and effects inside my browser. Better yet, Splashup offers instant publishing to sites like Flickr and Facebook.
Not to be confused with the popular DropBox, DropBoks is a lightweight file-storage app. The features consist of the following: upload file, download file, delete file. As you can see, there is not much to the app, but such a simple tool has great benefits. As a paranoid student, I can save my classwork on a jump drive and on DropBoks to make sure I have a backup if something goes wrong.
The standard limit is 1 GB and there is currently no option to share files. If you are looking for something more advanced with greater storage, check out Humyo. However, if you appreciate the clean and simple, give DropBoks a chance.
There are many more web apps to be thankful for, such as Google Wave, Meebo, and even Facebook. But the three above are a good start if you want to explore the world wide web of apps. Keep in mind, not all web apps are free. Enjoy!