Web Apps – What’s out there?

Today’s web is filled with a variety of amazing applications that run right in your browser.  These great web apps are usually free (at least to some degree), simple to use, and require no software installations.  Take edmodo.com for example, the subject of my last post – this web app is free to use, runs in your browser, runs on your smart phone, and provides you with a custom, social network within a walled garden.

Traditional computing required the user to go out, purchase a disk, and install it on a computer.  If the users computer got upgraded to a newer operating system, the software had to be re-installed or sometimes a new version had to be purchased.  When the Internet came along, users were able to share software via download, but it still required installations and upgrades.  Now, with web applications, the software runs on a remote server (in the cloud) and the updates are managed by the provider, not the end user.  This means that no installations are required, no upgrades are required, an often times no payment is required.  How great is that!

It’s fabulous – so many great web apps have emerged over the last 10 years.  But, how do you keep track of them or find an app for a specific need?  Many of them have strange names like twitter, glogster, pinterest, mixlr, vocaroo, tumblr, weebly, webspiration.  Therefore, a simple google search doesn’t always cut the mustard.  That’s why, about five years ago I decided to create a directory of web-based applications to help people find the right tool.  I decided to call the site cloudtrip.  The idea behind the name is that you are browsing for a cloud application – Take a trip through the clouds!

Cloudtrip.com provides you with a directory of web/cloud applications.  You can browse by category or key word.  For example, if you are looking for an application to help you create diagrams, you can simply click on the Tags page and click ‘diagrams’ or ‘concept mapping’.  You will then get a list of apps that provide a tool for creating diagrams online.  As an educator, I suggest you start with the ‘Education’ category, but don’t limit yourself to that.  Check out other categories like ‘Audio’ for music and audio tools, ‘Video’ for video tools, ‘Productivity’ for apps that help you accomplish more each day.

Some other great web app directories have emerged since Cloudtrip launched in 2008.  Check out these:

Edutecher.net – List of web apps and desktop software that are strictly education focused.

Go2Web20.net – Directory of all Web 2.0 tools, many of which are web apps

Appappeal.com – Directory of web applications

Software has moved from the desktop to the cloud – why not get lost in the cloud today…

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