2010: Products On The Web I Can’t Live Without

After reading the posts from Michael Arrington and Kevin Rose about the products they couldn’t live without, it got me thinking about what products on the Web that I’ve started to depend on.

I thought to myself, “if this product was gone and I could never use it again, would there be a major void in my day-to-day life?”  What I came up with was slightly different or left out some things that others did, which will hopefully provoke comment and good discussion.

Also… for some of these products, I think it’s more that I’m identifying the class of products that solve this problem and not this product specifically.  The product I’m naming is just the one that I’m using that solves that problem.   You’ll see what I mean in the list.

Google Reader

I remember when you had about 10 or 15 sites in your bookmarks that you’d track and check each and various points throughout the day to see if there was anything new.    Now, the ability to syndicate the contents of a website (through RSS) and aggregate it together with other content is SUPER powerful and totally changes the way that we consume content, as in it let’s us consume a lot more of it.  For me, Google Reader has definitely done the best job of aggregating all the information I want to see together into one location.

Gmail

Even with and before RSS, the most popular way to syndicate or distribute online content to users is via e-mail.  For me, G-mail has done the best job of attacking the problems around that.  One of the killer features for me is it’s ability to group threads of e-mails into conversations, instead of just unique messages.

Google Docs

Recently, I’ve been increasingly been taking on projects where I’ve been writing a lot of material and having to collaborate on it with a handful of people.   After a while,  the model of e-mailing MS Word docs to your teammates and using track changes just starts to break down.  I knew I needed a cloud solution for all of my productivity apps.  Google Docs has done an amazing job.  I don’t see myself using Microsoft Word or Excel for anything unless I absolutely have to.

Facebook

I’m always wanting to keep up with my friends and what’s going on.  The thing is that I have a lot of friends and their lives have many complex facets.    I think Facebook does the best of ingesting those lives and helping you keep track of things as they change.

Twitter

For me, Twitter scratches a different itch.  It’s more of a short form publishing platform, where users can exclaim the things they’re doing or thinking about at any given moment.  As an end-user, you get solidarity when someone else relates to what you’re thinking or feeling.   As someone in the customer service business,  I get a chance to hear from my users and get unfettered access to what they’re thinking about our product and this very second.   That help me deliver them the happiness they’re looking for.

Hulu

More so this year than ever, I’ve found that my schedule has become increasingly busy and unpredictable.  I’m not able to guarantee that when I start watching a television show that appears on that network on Wednesdays at 9pm that I’ll be able to continue watching it at that time for the rest of the season.  Being able to grab TV at the time which better suits my schedule has become increasingly important.    Plus being able to get all the shows I want in once space is amazing.

WordPress

More and more people I want to know are wanting good mechanisms for communicating their voices online.  WordPress is both SUPER easy to setup and use for newbies.  Plus it’s moldable into just about whatever use case you can imagine.

Pandora

I never realized how much I depended on the radio for discovering new music till I moved into the city and gave up my car.     Pandora has done an amazing job of tackling this problem, while at the same time finding me new music that I’ll actually enjoy.  I’ve purchased so many new albums because I heard it on Pandora.  Now, when I do listen to the radio, I’m shocked to hear what is “popular.”

Amazon Prime

I live in the city and so it’s not always easy to run to a store after work.   The ability to click a couple of buttons and have a physical good appear in 2 days is REALLY powerful.  It’s really disruptive.   Before I may have waited till the weekend to go to a store and pick something up,  now I can just have it at my apartment in 2 days.  I think this will force brick & mortar stores to find new ways to add value to the purchase process, other than just be the place that you purchase the good.

Instapaper

There’s so much to read online.  What I had been doing for the longest time was just leaving each blog post open as its own tab until I read it.  Well, this used so much processing from my computer that it brought things to a grinding halt.   With Instapaper, I can just send the article to Instapaper and I can read it later.  I’ll have access to the queue from the Instapaper website, the iPhone app, or the daily Kindle digest.   I’ll often catch up with the blog posts I’m behind on while on my way to the office.

AddThis Toolbar for Firefox

Yes, yes, I know this is our own product but I really do love it. 🙂  I’m the kind of person who’s always sharing links with my friends.  Before you have to copy and paste.    With this, you just click and share.  Click and share.  Click and share.  It makes sharing easy.

Things Absent…

One thing that’s notable and not on the list is Foursquare or Gowala.   While I find these apps enjoyable, they haven’t become a necessary utility yet.  I’ll write more about this later.

So what’s in your list?

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2 thoughts on “2010: Products On The Web I Can’t Live Without”

  1. Well, if the list is those sites I visit/use every day, I’d include Google News, Blogger, Google Analytics, Facebook, Runkeeper and Mint. What’s interesting is that a lot of sites I use everyday, I don’t do so with a web browser on my computer, but rather as apps on my iPhone. These include Facebook, Mint, Runkeeper, Twitter, itunes/app store, Blogger.

    Tweetie has become my Google Reader. I banished location-based apps from my phone and Facebook feed. 😉

    Nice post!

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