35 best web apps
Why download native apps when brilliant – and free – entertainment, productivity and education services are available on the web? We reveal 35 of the best web apps you can use for free directly in your browser
Quake Live is based on the classic Quake III Arena first-person shooter, and hasn’t lost any of its frenetic appeal in the browser-based version. The smooth, frantic gameplay more than atones for the dated graphics, and those prepared to pay £2 a month can bypass the game’s 30-second ads and queues for popular online arenas, and create their online multiplayer clans. That said, there’s plenty of entertainment on tap for free.
Money Dashboard’s interface is uncommonly good, with animated graphs breaking down your monthly spend to allow you to see precisely where your cash is going. Integration with external bank accounts means you don’t need to enter your balance manually, and the clear presentation means even the innumerate will get a clearer picture of their finances.
Clipular installs in Chrome to let you take screenshots in the browser – handy for, say, taking dozens of screenshots of web apps for a feature you’re writing for PC Pro. Once installed, press Alt+C to take a screenshot; you can select part of the page or scroll down to capture more. Clippings are saved in your Clipular account – you’ll need to sign in with Facebook or Google – where you can download or edit the image. Clipular even captures the link from where you took the screenshot.
Remember The Milk
Not only does this tool tie in with iOS, Android, Outlook, Twitter, Gmail and more via a range of third-party apps, but each entry in your to-do list can also be edited with tags, locations, a URL and more. You can add tasks to your list via email, and add conditions, such as a “due date”, using a range of hashtagged commands.
Trying to get a group of people to commit to a date – whether it’s for a stag weekend or a crucial project meeting – can be next to impossible. Doodle attempts to make the process as simple as possible. Select a number of possible dates for your event, then forward the resulting email to all the people you want to invite. Responses are tracked online, allowing you to see who’s available when. Creating a free account allows you to track responses in more detail, and keep tabs on who has or hasn’t responded.
We’re all uploading more and more content to the cloud, but, if you’re like us, it’s scattered among different services, with photos on Facebook and Flickr, documents in Google Drive and Dropbox, and so on. CloudKafé lets you connect all these services into one central hub, making it easier to see what you have online and where it’s stored. It’s a useful service, and one that will only get better as support for more websites is added.
This ingenious tool lets you select which sections of a web page to print, cutting out extraneous sections such as advertisements and formatting, or other parts of the page that will only waste paper. Easy-to-use settings also make it simple to remove backgrounds and images and adjust font sizes. The trees will appreciate PrintWhatYouLike – as will the person in charge of your company’s paper budget.
Meraki WiFi Stumbler
It may seem a bit silly to use a browser-based app to look for Wi-Fi – after all, you’ll need a connection to use it – but Meraki’s WiFi Stumbler offers access to lots of useful information about connections in the local area, from MAC address and radio type to signal strength and channel number. Handy if you’re trying to avoid interference or troubleshoot.
Dropbox might be king of the hill for cloud-sharing, but SpiderOak offers a unique feature: absolute security. Every file you upload is encrypted, but since your password is also encrypted client-side, SpiderOak can’t access your files either, even if ordered to by a court. The company calls the approach “zero knowledge”, and it could be the answer for anyone who viewed with horror Dropbox’s 2012 security breach.
There’s a host of different ways to run video conferences online, but ÜberConference is designed to make virtual meetings run more smoothly. It shows who’s actually on the call and highlights who’s speaking, so you can stop asking “sorry, who said that?”
Also, it offers handy audio controls: one allows you to mute a participant who has annoying background noises, while “ear muffs” stops a caller from hearing, allowing you to make a subtle aside to someone else without them knowing. A basic account is free; paid accounts start at £10 per month and include extra features such as call recording.
PowerPoint might be the go-to tool for anyone putting together a corporate presentation, but if Microsoft’s samey visual style leaves you cold, Prezi, with its emphasis on animated navigation and modern themes, is a good alternative. There’s an iPad app, too, but the lack of a downloadable version (besides a static PDF) hampers the appeal.
A more traditional option for building presentations than Prezi, SlideRocket offers collaborative slideshow creation with a range of decent-looking special effects and pre-designed templates. Presentations can be run directly from the browser, or on iOS devices via an HTML5-based app.
There’s also the option to download presentations to an offline player for times when an internet connection can’t be guaranteed. Not surprisingly, this is where SlideRocket’s £155-per-year premium account comes in.