20 Indispensable Browser Based Apps

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There’s nothing better than a good browser based app. Browser based apps require no downloading and no installation, so you can start using them whenever and wherever you like. What’s more, each one of these apps is accessible from any computer in the world, provided that it’s connected to the internet, so there’s no need to take expensive and heavy hardware with you when you’re out of the office. Some of these apps can be used on your mobile phone too!

There are browser based alternatives to almost every traditional piece of software you frequently use, whether it’s for word processing, image editing, listening to music, screen sharing, storing files and folders, or even making to-do lists. Here, we bring you 20 indispensable web apps, which once you’ve tried, you’ll never want to live without again. Most of the apps explored below are free, so there’s nothing stopping you from giving them a go.

GizmoCall (free)1
2 GizmoCall is a fantastic, free, browser based alternative to using the telephone. All you need is a computer that’s connected to the internet, a headset and a Flash-enabled browser. PC to PC calls are free and rates for calls to landlines and mobiles are very cheap, starting at 1.9c per minute. You can even set up a caller ID with your own phone number, so people know it’s you calling.

GizmoCall3

MegaMeeting (from $45 per month)4
5 Like GizmoCall, but for video-conferencing, MegaMeeting is entirely browser based, so you don’t have to download or install anything. You needn’t worry about compatibility issues either, as it works on Windows, Mac and Linux-based machines. With MegaMeeting, 16 people can partake in a video conference at any one time, with an unlimited number of non-participatory spectators.

MegaMeeting6

Basecamp (from $24 per month)7
8 Basecamp is, quite simply, the best browser based project management app available. With Basecamp, which is endorsed by Warner Brothers, Adidas, National Geographic and other high profile companies, you can write communal and personal “to do” lists, store and share files (up to 75GB) effectively between team members, write on your group’s message boards, add milestones to keep track of what’s due and who’s responsible, and track your own and others’ time.

Basecamp9

Remember The Milk (free)10
11 If you’re the type of person who’s constantly scribbling down lists, lest you forget everything, welcome to the 21st century and Remember The Milk, a great app for making personal and professional to-do lists. Not only can you create lists and tasks wherever you are by using your computer or mobile, you can attach them to real maps, get reminders and share your lists with others. Catalogue your lists and tasks in the way that feels ‘right’ for you, so that you never lose a to-do list again.

Remember the Milk12

Meebo (free)13
14 Meebo is a fantastic browser app for instant messaging. Integrated with MSN, Yahoo!, Facebook, AIM and more, it lets you combine all of your online friends into one buddy list, talking and sharing in real-time across every major IM platform. It’s got 100 million users and that many people can’t be wrong.

Meebo15

Zoho (free)16
17 Zoho offers everything, from an email service to an online presentation tool, document management, note taker, wiki site, organizer, chat, and various business apps, including CRM solutions, web conferencing, collaboration software and much, much more. What it’s best known for, however, is its word processor, Zoho Docs, which rivals Microsoft Word and Google Docs. The best thing about Zoho Docs is that your documents are saved online and accessible anywhere in the world, although there is an offline mode too.

Zoho18

Lala (free)19
20 If you’re looking for free music online and don’t want to incriminate yourself or download any dodgy viruses by mistake, look no further than Lala. It couldn’t be simpler to use, just search for the music you want by genre, artist, album or song title, and play it straight from your browser. There’s a huge selection available, including all major new releases.

Lala21

Picnik (free)22
23 There are literally millions of people looking for cheaper alternatives to Adobe Photoshop for editing images. Picnik is better than cheap, it’s free, and although it doesn’t do lots of different things; it does a few things very well. The last five pictures you edit using Picnik are automatically saved for you to re-edit on your return if you so wish and it’s seamlessly integrated with sites like Flickr, which will store your photos online for you.

Picnik24

Dimdim (free)25
26 Dimdim is a free, open source web meeting platform which puts commercial applications like Webex and GoToMeeting to shame. With Dimdim, you can host meetings with up to 20 people for free. You can synchronize presentations, web pages and more at the touch of a button, sharing voice and video at the same time.

DimDim27

30 Boxes (free)28
30 Boxes is a browser based calendar and one of the best online tools for keeping yourself organized. Its strength lies in its simplicity. Once you’ve signed up, you’re presented with a large calendar which covers the screen. All you do is click on a day and add notes for yourself.

30 Boxes29

Gmail (free)30
31 With so many free email providers around, it can be hard to choose which one to go with. Everyone seems to have a favorite but, in our humble opinion, the best is Gmail. It offers intuitive sorting and searching, organizing of emails in conversations, a great spam filter, starring and custom coloring of emails and plenty of storage. The best thing about Gmail, however, is that it’s so easily accessible from Google.com, which, chances are, you’ll already be visiting regularly.

Gmail32

280 Slides (free)33
34 280 slides is the ideal browser app to use for creating polished visual presentations. It’s perfect for people who travel and don’t want to take their computers with them. Once you have created a presentation online, you can secure it on 280 Slide’s secure server, download it in PowerPoint 2007 format, email it to a friend or colleague, or embed it in a web page. It’s easy to add pictures and videos to your presentation from places like Flickr and YouTube.

280 Slides35

MindMeister (free)36
37 MindMeister is a simple, but incredibly effective app for brainstorming with colleagues, wherever they might be. It’s accessible from any computer or smartphone. Use MindMeister to create mind maps in your browser, which colleagues can add to and edit simultaneously. Besides business users, students can use MindMeister when working on group projects, and individuals can use it just to plan their day or week ahead. You can work on your mind maps offline if you wish and then go online to share them.

Mind Meister38

Mockingbird (free)39
40 Mockingbird, an app for web developers and designers, lets you create mock-ups of websites in minutes. You can drag and drop user interface elements into mockingbird, rearranging and resizing them as you go to create the perfectly balanced page. You can add as many pages as you like, linking them together to show clients or associates how users might navigate through your site. Share your mock-ups by generating a link or embedding them in your own website or blog.

Mockingbird41

PDF to Word (free)42
43 This fantastically simple browser app converts even the most intricate PDF’s into DOC/RTF equivalents for you to edit in Microsoft Word. If you’ve ever tried copying and pasting an entire PDF into Word before, you’ll know that you often end up with something which barely resembles the original. PDF to Word gets really great results in seconds, using a wide variety of layout tools including paragraphs, columns and margins.

PDF to Word44

Fonolo (free)45
46 Don’t you just hate calling customer support numbers? Not only do you have to hold for hours on end, you’ve got to navigate your way through various levels of number pressing before you’re connected to the right person. Well Fonolo does all the hard work for you; connecting you to exactly the person you wish to speak to without all the “Press 1 if you’re a home customer, press 2 if you’re a business customer, press 3 if you’re a tired of being told to press a number customer!” You get the idea.

Fonolo47

Youblisher (free)48
49 Youblisher is an excellent, free app for converting endless PDF documents into a more interesting and digestible format. Upload your PDF’s and let Youblisher turn them into an impressive, flippable publication, which looks just like a real pamphlet or magazine.

Youblisher50

Mitto (free)51
52 Have you got hundreds of different passwords for hundreds of different websites, bank accounts and who knows what else? I do, it’s an absolute nightmare, constantly setting up new passwords for sites I use on a weekly basis. Mitto is a secure online password manager, which lets you store all of your passwords safely. Organize your passwords exactly how you want to, so you know where to find them, and access them anywhere in the world, via your computer or mobile phone.

Mitto53

FlockDraw (free)54
55 FlockDraw is a great way to share ideas or waste lots of time in a fun way, whichever suits you best. It’s essentially a paint tool with which you can paint and draw instantly without the need for any downloading or installing. Not only can you draw by yourself, you can do so with friends or colleagues simultaneously, which is perfect for when you’re collaborating on ideas.

FlockDraw56

Dropbox (free)57
58 Dropbox is an ingenious tool for storing and sharing files between any number of computers, phones or team members. Once installed, a Dropbox folder appears on your computer’s desktop. Drag files into the folder and they automatically appear in the Dropbox folder on each one of your computers, laptops and smartphones. What’s more, every file is automatically added to another Dropbox folder on the Dropbox website, which is accessible from any computer in the world. You can invite associates to access your Dropbox folder, for quick and easy file sharing.

Dropbox59

So what are some browser-based apps that you use daily and can’t leave without? Which apps from this list have you not discovered yet? Do you plan on trying some of these apps? We would love to hear your thoughts, comments, suggestions and links below. Please fill out the comment box and share your thoughts with us.

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Tom Walker has made a living out of his two main interests in life: writing and design. He works with a supplier of laser printer toner, ink, paper and other printing accessories in England. His other writing on the subjects of art and design is on CreativeCloud.

  1. 1

    Thanks for sharing. Some of them I don’t even heard of. This should come in handy someday.

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  2. 3

    Wow nice list, some of em are new for me.
    .-= Kuswanto´s latest Blog Entry – 35 Best Tiger Illustration =-.

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  3. 5

    excellent article and helping stuff. thanks
    .-= Dzinepress´s latest Blog Entry – 45 Free Most Wanted iPhone Games =-.

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  4. 7

    Niiice! Sad though to realise I use only 8 out of the 20 on a regular basis. Keep them coming Jad!
    .-= Inspiring Pixel´s latest Blog Entry – Screencast: How to create a Typographic Poster in Photoshop =-.

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  5. 9

    Like Peach, I hadn’t heard of most of these although I do use the excellent Dropbox. I’m off to download ‘PDF to Word’ and ‘Mitto’ just now…

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  6. 11

    Some great services here that I was unaware, PDF to Word should come in handy.
    Would you say that GismoCall has better features than Skype?

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    • 12

      To tell you the truth Gareth, I’ve heard good reports about GismoCall but haven’t personally tried it myself. Skype is awesome though! :)

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  7. 13

    Never seen a list like this…thought it was unique :)
    submitted to digg .

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  8. 15

    I’m using Dropbox for a while now, it’s a very handy tool I don’t want to miss anymore.
    *thumbs up*

    Eva
    @friendsofdesign

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  9. 17

    Great list – a lot of these I have never heard of – will be checking many of them out
    .-= Mel Ndiweni´s latest Blog Entry – Aurora Borealis Typopgraphy Wallpaper Photoshop Tutorial =-.

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  10. 19

    What a list Tom! I was aware of a couple of these, but no where near touching this list. I’m going to giving a few of these a spin today as I do (and I’m sure a lot of your readers) a lot of collaboration online.

    So thanks for putting this together — I’m looking forward to never pressing 1 again for English. Ha.

    - Shawn

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  11. 21

    Dropbox is certainly my favorite. The best way to share and access files online. Saves a lot of bandwidth by syncing images from my site. As a matter of fact, it won an award in the .NET awards.

    I haven’t heard about most of others. Will check them out now. Thanks, Jad
    .-= Richie´s latest Blog Entry – 2500 Business Card Giveaway from Printox.com =-.

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    • 22

      Really, that’s great. I’m sure DropBox has won lots of awards already and will continue to do so in the future. It really is awesome, and definitely can be a lifesaver.

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  12. 23

    For designers, take a look at http://contentcube.com . It is an online file storage, collaboration and presentation service that has great support for professional image formats like psd, ai, tiff, pdf, etc. It is really easy to use for your clients as well.

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  13. 25

    Great list. Most of them I’ve been using. I’ll hope more browser apps provide free version too.
    .-= Aidan´s latest Blog Entry – Working with Flash: Tips & Tricks to Create a Detailed Image =-.

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  14. 27

    Box.net is another good, free file sharing/storing site.

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  15. 29

    I’m use a lot of these on a daily basis. I’m just now discovering Mockingbird and loving it! I’m definitely adding it to my client workflow. Thanks for the list.
    .-= Chris Thurman´s latest Blog Entry – 8 Essential Tools for Website Redesign Efficiency =-.

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  16. 31

    I would favor Skype even though it’s not technically web-based, it is somewhat in the same vein as the above apps and is crucial for working with remote employees.

    Also, take a look at Intervals, a web-based time, task & project management app that our web design agency built. It combines several of the above apps into one.

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  17. 33

    Very useful list of apps, I use some of them already and I will be trying a few you suggested, thank you much! :)

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  18. 35

    “Browser based apps require no downloading”

    Uh huh.

    I think you need to learn what downloading is.

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  19. 37

    @john, thanks john I’ll stick with skype then, as its never let me down, will check out your app.
    .-= Gareth Coxon – Dot Design´s latest Blog Entry – Top 10 Applications and services for a graphic designer =-.

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  20. 39

    Wow, this is an excellent list! I have already been using Basecamp and Dropbox for a while, but I will look into the others and recommend them to others! Web-based apps are definitely the future of software. No installation, you don’t lose everything if your hard drive dies, and you can access your data from anyway at any time!

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    • 40

      Great points you bring up. I’m definitely starting to use more web apps for my daily work. It’s definitely a time saver, especially if you like to move your office around, and work at the coffee shop, or anywhere else. It’s great to not have to always carry an external hard drive with you. That’s why Dropbox is amazing! :)

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  21. 41

    Lala apparently doesn’t work outside the US so I’ll recommend Grooveshark for the rest of us.
    http://listen.grooveshark.com/

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  22. 43

    Since we’ve opened our doors, we cannot live without Basecamp and DropBox. Hands down, these are our two most used web based apps on a daily basis. I have to say I haven’t heard of the remaining list and not entirely certain where they would come into play in our environment, but it is good to know they are out there.
    .-= Erik Ford´s latest Blog Entry – 3 Simple Image Enhancements in Photoshop =-.

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    • 44

      Haha, it’s great to hear that everyone is using Dropbox. They have gotten so popular in just a short period of time. It beats the old days when I used to carry my flash drive around.

      I guess if you just have a great product, then it will be really successful. I haven’t really even seen any Dropbox ads, yet they are so popular and everyone seems to be talking about them. :)

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  23. 45

    We’re using Dropbox already, and we’ll be looking into Basecamp in the near future.

    This is a good list, but I’m quite amazed that neither Google Docs or Google Analytics made the list. These browser based apps are essential to our business and I’m sure, many others. Maybe they are just too obvious to include?
    .-= Rohan´s latest Blog Entry – Why redesign? =-.

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    • 46

      Yeah, I think that is the reason why Tom didn’t include them on the list. He should have just included Google as one of the twenty apps. Most of Google’s products are great. Not too sure about Google Wave though. :)

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  24. 47

    I noticed a few that I need to take a closer look at. Dropbox and Google’s Gmail, Docs & most of the other Google apps have been a great help for our business. Harvest for time tracking and billing is also another great browser based app that is $12 month for single user, unlimited clients, and projects. They a few other options based on the number of users: http://www.getharvest.com/ another great post.

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    • 48

      I haven’t really had the chance to look at Harvest, but they did advertise on DI before and it looked pretty interesting. Might have to go back and review that app again.

      Thanks for the compliments Don. It’s much appreciated.

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  25. 49

    Hi there,

    great list !! one of my favorite tool is evernote (http://www.evernote.com), which is a fantastic tool for taking notes, ocr and much more , with free clients available for almost every platform. Really worth a try.

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  26. 51

    Very useful. I will try some of these out.

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  27. 53

    Wow! Excellent resource.

    I’m a current user of DropBox, and couldn’t be happier.

    Heading over to Picnik now to check it out – could be a nice alternative to GIMP, and that PDF to Word looks might handy as well.

    Thanks again!
    .-= Dan Taylor´s latest Blog Entry – Vancouver 2010 Olympics – as mind map =-.

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  28. 56

    Nice collection. Thanks
    .-= SMiGL´s latest Blog Entry – Необычные особенности JavaScript =-.

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  29. 58

    It’s really interesting article. Thanks for good information.
    .-= Lesya´s latest Blog Entry – Введение =-.

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  30. 60

    Great list. I use quite a few of these, and I use Mitto daily to manage all the sites I need to log into. Their bookmarklet is awesome. Great work!

    -Sean

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    • 61

      This is great! I have been using dropbox for quite a while now. Thanks for all the apps. Keep up the great work, Jad.

      @MoD

      “Browser based apps require no downloading”

      Uh huh.

      I think you need to learn what downloading is.

      Well MoD, I think you need to know what is obvious and redundancy means.

      And oh, based on your comments, “your name is who you are.”

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    • 63

      Yes, Mitto is great for managing those sites. Thanks for leaving a comment Sean.

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  31. 64

    This is a great selection. I’ve heard of a few but some are new and I’ll give them a spin over the weekend. Thanks for the selection and awesome choice of apps!

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  32. 66

    Thanks for this great list tom, some of them is new for me

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  33. 68

    Hi Tom – Great list! Thank you for mentioning MegaMeeting!

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  34. 70

    I’m glad to see that you included Dropbox. It’s an awesome-tastic app. I use it all the time. Best thing about Dropbox? It’s free and comes with 3 gb of storage.
    .-= Tony´s latest Blog Entry – The Secret to Finding Better People to Follow on Twitter =-.

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  35. 71

    Hmm… Awesome-tastic? I like that. ;)

    Yes, the 3 GB is great, but I’m so glad they have a referral bonus as well. I’m up to about 7 GB now.

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  36. 72

    The free http://Mint.com is superior to most commercial financial maintenance/planning products. It is beautiful AND usable – a rare combination when it comes to financial products. Check it out.

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    • 73

      Hey, thanks for mentioning Mint. I have been a long time user of Mint and I have to say that it really is awesome. That would have been great to add to the list.

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  37. 74

    Thanks for the app list

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  38. 76

    Wow, very useful, thanks for sharing!

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  39. 78

    such a nice list,most of them are so new to me ,hope to cut down some phone bill.thnx
    .-= shoaib hussain´s latest Blog Entry – Windows 7 Tip-Make System Restore Image =-.

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  40. 80

    I’ve always loved Picnik. Even tho it doesn’t come with a bunch of editing functions, it’s easy to use. Photoshop is too complicated for me.
    .-= Blancheys´s latest Blog Entry – Valentine’s Day Can GTFO =-.

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  41. 81

    That’s a great list, thanks!

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  42. 82

    Google already offers most of these services and will soon replace them all … go go Google !!
    .-= jokr´s latest Blog Entry – jokr: Kilogram … a beautiful free font by KalleGraphics http://www.behance.net/Gallery/Kilogram/414472 … grab it while it’s hot ;) =-.

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  43. 83

    Hey Jad,

    Great list. We ourselves use most of the apps listed – but have recently also started using http://creately.com for visual collaboration for our distributed design and dev team. Its a great diagramming app with fantastic support for wireframes, UML and even flowcharts, etc.

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  44. 84

    try http://www.befunky.com it’s really good for photoshopping

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  45. 85

    Very nice collection of web apps Jad. I do use few of them but not on regular basis, maybe I need to start playing with the new apps you have listed above. I find http://board800.com very simple and easy to use specially within a group of people sitting in different locations.
    Thanks for sharing the list:-)

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  46. 86

    Some really good ones. Thanks for compiling this list!
    .-= Selig´s Latest Entry – Nu bygger vi Katrineholm. Gemensamt [Utkast] =-.

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  47. 87

    Those are all cool & helpful apps, thank you very much for sharing.

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  48. 88

    Ronald Storozyszyn

    June 10, 2010 11:43 am

    You might want to remove Lala from your list. It is officially dead now, thanks to Apple.
    There is another site you guys might be interested in for music.
    http://www.thesixtyone.com/ Its not a current hits site; its more for people who want to discover news bands. I discovered the Canadian band Maurice through this site.

    Anyway, great site! I especially like Zoho. Goodbye Microsoft Office, hello Zoho! Thanks for creating a great resource, and keep writing this kind of thing. I’ve already turned several friends on to your site. They love it too.

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  49. 89

    Let me share that I found one alternative to Basecamp. With web crm http://www.worketc.com I can easily assign leads to my staff and automatically create a project to match the specific lead. This automation is the the number one factor that made me switch from Basecamp to Worketc, plus of course Worketc’s other project management features and lower package rates.

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  50. 90

    wow thats one nice list ,n they r all so useful yet free.

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  51. 91

    Great list, sadly LaLa is no longer alive- do you know of another like that that plays new releases as well, I never listen to the radio so I have been so out of touch with whats new! LOL

    Signing up for about 5 of the others- this is the first list like this where not everything is the same as the other ‘best apps’ it’s nice to see something new!

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  52. 92

    “It’s got 100 million users and that many people can’t be wrong.”

    Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much people resemble cattle.

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  53. 93

    Hey, cool list I deffs like dropbox the best and it have a phone app to which makes it even better! I saw in some of the comment pple where talking about music sites, by far the best one I’ve found is http://www.last.fm it mostly free unless you want to listen to there radio. It tracks what songs you listen to and gives you recommendation of other bands you might like and connects you with free downloads put out by the artist! I highly recommend it!

    Red

    PS your on stubble!

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  54. 94

    LaLa has been shut down since May.

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  55. 95

    Great list! MegaMeeting is good but quite expensive. RHUB’s TurboMeeting is 1/2 the price for the first year, then free after that since you own the device. Like MegaMeeting, TurboMeeting allows attendees to join via the browser using Flash (if it’s installed) or JavaScript (the iPads and iPhones of the world noddingly approve!).

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  56. 96

    Hey, Thanks for sharing these really useful sites. Some of them are really good.

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  57. 97

    This list absolutely rules! As a very forgetful person, I’m going with Remember the Milk for sure!!! Thx, Tim

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  58. 98

    Thank you for this great list of browser based apps! Many were new to me.

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  59. 99

    lala.com has been shut down since May 31st, 2010.

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  60. 100

    Hmmm, I’m using already a lot of this ones (Dropbox, Picnik, Dimdim…), but there are also a lot that I didn’t tried. I’ll give them a try!

    Thanks for sharing this list!

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  61. 101

    Picnik is a great app, so sad to see LaLa go, sigh – another great app bites the dust.

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  62. 102

    Just letting you know, Lala.com was disconnected on May 31st of this year. Too bad, I was interested in that site.

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  63. 103

    Thank you very much for this list.
    I will try these apps.

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  64. 104

    Really nice list of online programs.
    Most of them are new to me and I have found them very helpful!

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  65. 105

    Great list. Many of these are new to me. I’m going to give them a try.

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  66. 106

    Great list. I’m glad to see devs getting away from installing to the OS, but IMHO lose the web 2.0 “Teletubby” naming convention.

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  67. 107

    Fantastic list.. nicely briefed! :) A lot of stuff from here is handy to most of the people.. Thanks for putting it together like this!
    Cheers.
    J

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  68. 108

    I enjoy your writing style truly loving this internet site .

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  69. 109

    Great list man! A lot of these will come in handy for business productivity. Dropbox itself has already saved me from having to configure an FTP site/server. Thanks!

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  70. 110

    Nice list — very useful. I’ve been using many of these – nice to see a complete list.

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  71. 111

    Some of them i not even heard of yet….Some of them are really cool thanks for sharing :)

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  72. 112

    I agree with the Basecamp tip but as a longtime user of Basecamp I found it’s task scheduling ability a little weak so I tend to use the addon Workstack which gives me a team calendar overview.

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