Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Trouble with Web Apps

Web applications are great! You can do pretty much anything on a website that you can do on your computer now. From checking your email (Gmail, Yahoo! Mail), to Word Processing (Writely ..which, btw, I use to write my blog entries), Spreadsheets (Google Spreadsheets), Online Bookmarks (, Photo Sharing (Flickr), and even watching videos (YouTube, Google Video), you can do it all. It may not look as pretty or have all the features of their desktop counterparts, but they're getting there. And what's more, you never need to reboot your computer when a new patch is added to Gmail. No need to install software...everything can be run through your web browser, which means added security. till, there's something missing here. Something that needs to be addressed before any web apps truly become mainstream.

The fact that these programs and services are "online" is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they're usually free services, supported by web ads. They're incredibly portable, allowing access from anywhere you have an Internet connection. But, herein lies the problem. You need a constant connection to the Internet for these applications to work properly. Any hiccups in your broadband connection, and you can't access your files. Granted, in 2006 we have much better broadband than even a few years ago, but it's still not perfect. If the connection is laggy, it can be quite frustrating. What we need is an way to avoid over reliance on this connection.

For now, the switch away from desktop apps like Word or Photoshop is still not a reality. For some functions, such as email, web-based mail services have become almost second nature to use. If only we had the broadband networks that Korea and most of Europe has... Oh where are you city-wide wi-fi?!?

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