Boost your productivity: 10 amazing web apps you can use for free in your browser

The installation of the software dates back to 2005. Nowadays you can do almost everything online

That amazing future, where you don’t have to worry about installing software, because everything is on the Internet? Already there. But you probably knew that anyway, using Google Maps and Google Docs, and Google Everything Else.

What you might not know is the huge range of things you can do in a browser and how brilliant many web apps have become. Things define two rules for inclusion in this list: applications must be properly good; and absolutely no Flash (because Adobe says it’s going live on a farm soon).

Amazon Music – online jukebox

Amazon Music – online jukebox

Most music streaming services provide some kind of web player, but Amazon doesn’t immediately ask you to install Flash. Moreover, it offers a whole range of payment options.

If you’ve purchased any shiny records or digital music from the site before, chances are there are copies lurking in Amazon Music, ready to play. Do you have Amazon Prime? That’s still two million tracks to go. Want more? You can go unlimited for ten a month – and it all works in your browser.

Try Amazon Music (from £free)

The independent choice: Bandcamp

If you have a more indie bent, Bandcamp offers online playback for much of its music — and everything you buy. On the latter, it also makes artists more money than the competition, so you can properly support the ones you love.

Canva – design guru

Canva – design guru

True designers will balk at Canva’s suggestion that somebody can “easily create beautiful designs”; a designer armed with InDesign will almost certainly get neater results. But it opens up a certain type of design to the masses.

Want to make a quick poster? There are dozens of templates, which can be changed. Want something more personalized? Grab a blank grid and add your own text, shapes and images. Everything you do can be exported to PDF or JPEG, and while some elements are hidden behind a paywall, most of Canva’s features are completely free.

Try Canva (from £free)

Draft – targeted writing

Draft – targeted writing

While you can happily format words using Google Docs, its various buttons and menus can be a distraction. Draft is instead inspired by minimal writers such as iA Writer and WriteRoom.

In use, it’s mostly you and a sea of ​​text. But Draft’s minimalism doesn’t mean it lacks functionality: move the slider and you get a word count; write in Markdown and you can preview the result in HTML; major versions of your text can be saved as drafts; and you can collaborate on your paragon of wordy goodness with friends.

Try the draft (£ free)

Your personal detractors: Hemingway and Cliche

Because the machines are truly taking over, they can now criticize your pitiful human writing. Hemingway points out cases of passive voice and difficult-to-read sentences. And, brilliantly, Cliche Finder highlights copy-pasted cliches. In red.

Instapaper – Web PVR

Instapaper – Web PVR

A web app to read later might seem like an odd inclusion in this list. After all, a big part of Instapaper’s power is letting you stream content from web pages to its mobile apps, for later reading on the train.

However, if you’re the type of person who accumulates tabs throughout the day, submitting interesting articles to Instapaper is a smart move. And since the Web version gives you a very readable and configurable reading experience, it’s a good way to integrate content from your favorite sites at your leisure.

Try Instapaper (£free)

Lingvist – language tutor

Lingvist – language tutor

This one is all about forcing as many words as possible into your brain in the shortest amount of time. Most of the time this happens through flash cards, in which you type in a missing word. At any time, you can press the right cursor key to preview a word, without penalty.

The app keeps track of your progress, drumming tricky words in your head until they stick. Cleverly, key concepts are put into context, and before long you’ll be screaming hablo spanish fluidamente out the window until your neighbors tell you to stop.

Try Lingvist (£free)

Marina Timer – time optimizer

Marina Timer – time optimizer

The idea behind the Pomodoro technique is to turn the workday into short sprints, followed by short breaks. The idea is that you can focus optimally on a task for about 25 minutes, after which your brain will slow down a bit.

This app gives you such a timer, with the added benefit of numbers so large you could probably still see them when standing across the street. Want something simpler? There are also custom and “kitchen” timers.

Try Marina Timer (£free)

Photopea – Photoshop Baby

Photopea – Photoshop baby

Photoshop in a web browser? Surely not! OK, so it’s not Actually Photoshop, and it doesn’t have all the Photoshop tools. But Photopea looks a lot like Adobe’s powerhouse; moreover, it can successfully import, edit and export PSD files. Whore.

You’ll need a large screen to get the most out of the app (particularly because the palettes can’t be rearranged); but most of the time, you’ll probably be left wide-eyed at its existence, especially if you’ve used Photoshop and are now gawking at a usable pretender sitting in a web browser.

Try Photopea (from £free)

Polarr – photo editor

Polarr – photo editor

We’re used to editing snaps on smartphones, but doing it in a browser shows just how far web apps have come. Drop a favorite photo into Polarr, and you can add filters and make all kinds of adjustments.

Although this is the online branch of Polarr’s cross-platform offering, which locks some tools behind a paywall, you still get loads for free. And the edits are also non-destructive, so you can go back and change things up if you decide that increasing the saturation to “grabbing the eyes” ten steps ago wasn’t the best decision.

Try Polarr (from £free)

Sketch – digital sketchbook

Sketch – digital sketchbook

There are many web apps for drawing, but most of the output images are a low resolution mess, which means you can’t use it for anything useful. In contrast, Sketch is vector-based, so you could cover the side of your house in your masterpiece, if you could find a large enough printer.

If you’re an Illustrator expert, you can draw bezier curves with a pen tool. Otherwise, there are pencils and brushes for freehand scribbling. You can even import photos to trace, if the idea of ​​starting with a blank canvas is terrifying.

Try Sketchpad (£free)

Ventusky – weather mapper

Ventusky – weather mapper

This online weather app makes even the most visually interesting rivals look like they’re replicating a 1970s BBC report with sticky clouds. Half the screen is taken up by a mesmerizing animation showing wind speed, over which you can overlay rainfall, temperature, and more.

Elsewhere, you can delve into local webcams, see if rain will ruin your weekend plans, and find out when the sun will make its next appearance, assuming it’s not hidden by a thick gray cloud. (Which in the UK it probably will be.)

Try Ventusky (£ free)

Keep It Simple: Dark Skies

If you’re the “just the facts, man” type, check out Dark Sky for your weather fix. You get a no-frills outlook with handy temperature range bars, a simpler but still handy map, and a precipitation predictor for the hour ahead, so you can decide if it’s safe to leave the office/ massive house/pub/tree that you’re sheltering under.

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