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20 Indispensable Browser Based Apps

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)
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.

GizmoCall

MegaMeeting (from $45 per month)1
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.

MegaMeeting2

Basecamp (from $24 per month)3
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.

Basecamp4

Remember The Milk (free)5
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 Milk6

Meebo (free)7
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.

Meebo8

Zoho (free)9
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.

Zoho10

Lala (free)
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.

Lala

Picnik (free)11
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.

Picnik12

Dimdim (free)
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.

DimDim

30 Boxes (free)13
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 Boxes14

Gmail (free)15
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.

Gmail16

280 Slides (free)
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 Slides

MindMeister (free)17
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 Meister18

Mockingbird (free)19
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.

Mockingbird20

PDF to Word (free)21
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 Word22

Fonolo (free)23
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.

Fonolo24

Youblisher (free)25
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.

Youblisher26

Mitto (free)
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.

Mitto

FlockDraw (free)
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.

FlockDraw

Dropbox (free)27
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.

Dropbox28

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.

Footnotes Link

  1. 1 http://www.megameeting.com/
  2. 2 http://www.megameeting.com/
  3. 3 http://basecamphq.com/
  4. 4 http://basecamphq.com/
  5. 5 http://www.rememberthemilk.com/
  6. 6 http://www.rememberthemilk.com/
  7. 7 http://www.meebo.com/
  8. 8 http://www.meebo.com/
  9. 9 http://www.zoho.com/
  10. 10 http://www.zoho.com/
  11. 11 http://www.picnik.com/
  12. 12 http://www.picnik.com/
  13. 13 http://30boxes.com/
  14. 14 http://30boxes.com/
  15. 15 http://mail.google.com
  16. 16 http://mail.google.com
  17. 17 http://www.mindmeister.com/
  18. 18 http://www.mindmeister.com/
  19. 19 http://gomockingbird.com/
  20. 20 http://gomockingbird.com/
  21. 21 http://www.pdftoword.com/
  22. 22 http://www.pdftoword.com/
  23. 23 http://fonolo.com/
  24. 24 http://fonolo.com/
  25. 25 http://www.youblisher.com/
  26. 26 http://www.youblisher.com/
  27. 27 https://www.dropbox.com/
  28. 28 https://www.dropbox.com/

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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.

    0
  2. 3

    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…

    0
    • 4

      Martin, “PDF to Word” sounds great. I just downloaded it as well. Looks like it could be really useful.

      0
  3. 5

    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!

    0
    • 6

      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! :)

      0
  4. 7

    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?

    0
    • 8

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

      0
  5. 9

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

    0
    • 10

      Thanks for doing so. Looks like it’s doing pretty good as well. I really appreciate your effort.

      0
  6. 11

    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

    0
    • 12

      Yes, Dropbox is awesome, isn’t it? BTW, just checked out your site and the background is really unique. Great job. :)

      0
  7. 13

    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

    0
    • 14

      Glad you liked it Shawn. And yes, those automated phone operators are super annoying. :)

      0
  8. 15

    Thanks Kuswanto! :)

    0
  9. 16

    I appreciate it. BTW, keep it up with your blogs mate, you are doing a good job.

    0
  10. 17

    Hey Tuhin, I’m glad you liked Tom’s guest post. Nice to hear that you are already using some of these apps already.

    0
  11. 18

    Thanks Mel. Glad we were able to show you some new apps that you haven’t yet discovered.

    0
  12. 19

    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.

    0
  13. 20

    Hey, thanks Aidan. You are really doing an excellent job with Onextrapixel, I’m loving your articles. Keep up the great work. :)

    0
  14. 21

    Mockingbird is a great wire-framing tool. I’m also trying to add it to the workflow as well.

    0
  15. 22

    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. :)

    0
  16. 23

    Yes, check out Intervals. I’ve heard lots of great things about it.

    0
  17. 24

    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. :)

    0
  18. 25

    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.

    0
    • 26

      Thanks Shannon. That looks interesting. I’ll give it a try this evening. :)

      0
  19. 27

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

    0
    • 28

      Thanks for sharing. Their site looks great as well. I’m trying it out this minute!

      0
  20. 29

    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.

    0
    • 30

      Hello John, thanks for suggesting Intervals, I’ve heard of it before and it’s an excellent app. :)

      0
  21. 31

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

    0
    • 32

      Hey Mark, nice to see you again. Definitely give some of these apps a spin and I’m sure you’ll like them.

      0
  22. 33

    “Browser based apps require no downloading”

    Uh huh.

    I think you need to learn what downloading is.

    0
    • 34

      Hello MoD, can you explain what you mean? And next time, can you please not be so rude? #kthxbai

      0
  23. 35

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

    0
    • 36

      Yes, I would actually recommend Grooveshark as well. Very easy and simple to use. Thanks for pointing that out Anon.

      0
  24. 37

    Hey Scott, nice to hear from you again. How’s the photography business coming along?

    0
  25. 38

    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.

    0
    • 39

      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.

      0
  26. 40

    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.

    0
    • 41

      Leo, thanks for bringing that up. Evernote would have been great to add to this list. :)

      0
  27. 42

    You’re very welcome Dan. Glad you discovered some new apps.

    0
  28. 43

    Thanks mate!

    0
  29. 44

    Glad you thought it was good Lesya. Thanks! :)

    0
  30. 45

    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

    0
    • 46

      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.”

      0
    • 48

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

      0
  31. 49

    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!

    0
    • 50

      Hi Zerimar, you should definitely give these apps a try. I’m sure they won’t disappoint.

      0
  32. 51

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

    0
  33. 53

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

    0
    • 54

      Tony, thanks for creating a great app and for stopping by to leave a comment. :)

      Keep up the great work!

      0
  34. 55

    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.

    0
  35. 56

    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.

    0
    • 57

      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.

      0
  36. 58

    Thanks for the app list

    0
  37. 60

    You’re welcome. These are indeed useful and Tom did a great job of compiling these web apps.

    0
  38. 61

    Hehe, that would be nice, wouldn’t it? Anyway, I’m glad you liked the list. :)

    0
  39. 62

    That’s a great list, thanks!

    0
  40. 63

    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.

    0
  41. 64

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

    0
  42. 65

    aw ya I luv GIMP

    0
  43. 66

    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:-)

    0
  44. 67

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

    0
  45. 68

    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.

    0
  46. 69

    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.

    0
  47. 70

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

    0
  48. 71

    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!

    1
  49. 72

    “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.

    0
  50. 73

    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!

    0
  51. 74

    LaLa has been shut down since May.

    0
  52. 75

    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!).

    0
  53. 76

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

    0
  54. 77

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

    0
  55. 78

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

    0
  56. 79

    Helter-Skeletor

    August 31, 2010 9:44 pm

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

    0
  57. 80

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

    0
  58. 81

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

    0
  59. 82

    Adam @ freelance machine

    December 11, 2010 6:04 pm

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

    0
  60. 83

    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.

    0
  61. 84

    I enjoy your writing style truly loving this internet site .

    0
  62. 85

    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!

    0
  63. 86

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

    0
  64. 87

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

    0
  65. 88

    Spencer Kelly

    April 24, 2013 5:54 pm

    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.

    0

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