InformationWeek reviewed online Ajax applications in 6 different categories: Calendar, Email, Info Manager, Spreadsheets, Webtops, Word processors. In their definite perception, it is evident that Google is the emergent conqueror in 4 out of 6 categories. Google lost the race in Webtops category and it is behind Zoho writer in Word processor category. Some of these outcomes won’t make sense for me as the way I looked at the applications. In my decisive point of view, Google is only winner in two categories: Mail, Info Manager and Zoho is also the winner in two categories: Spreadsheet, Writer. Anyway take a look at the results+my pick:
Windows Live Mail
Pageflakes and YouOS
Zoho Writer leads in Ajax versions, but ThinkFree(Java Applet version) is the best
Let me explain why I picked(some of those) differently:
Calendar: I like Google calendar, 30 Boxes along with Kiko. But 30 Boxes is the emergent winner in my opinion. I like the RSS feed feature in 30 Boxes(it supports many more feature such as Flickr, Google search etc) where you can add that to calendar. Google calendar doesn’t provide these features. What surprised me about Kiko is, it was on sale on eBay and the makers are no longer interested in taking Kiko further.
E-Mail: I am not a big fan of thread approach in GMail as it always combine received mails and sent mails together in single thread which some times confuses me. But the GMail’s greatness is simple look & feel and text ads which never bothers me. Also the GTalk integration with GMail is impressive. I like Yahoo mail interface better than GMail because of its drag & drop feature and I am more relaxed with folders than labels. But the major drawback in Yahoo mail is annoying ads which always bothers me and each time ad changes it distracts my concentration from e-mail. Same with Windows live mail. So my vote is for GMail, but I have to admit that at the moment it has lot of problems. At times it says “loading” and never loads unless you refresh the browser. Also GTalk in GMail tries to reconnect frequently and never works over proxy.
SpreadSheet: I like Zoho Sheet as it supports Charts. Since charts are involved with most of my spread sheets, I have to say Zoho Sheet is the winner. I oppose that Google Spreadsheet is the winner as there is no charting feature.
Info Manager: I agree with the InformationWeek results. I like Google Notebook as it is so convenient to store from any web page with the help of browser plug-in that sits as small, discrete icon in the browser. It also lets you store it directly when you highlight a section of a Web page by right-clicking on it and selecting the option to store to notebook. With the other applications in this category one has to visit their site to store the information.
Webtop: I enjoy pageflakes as it is simple, convenient and it has number of applications to choose. Pageflakes is developed by using Microsoft’s Atlas. I like YouOS, but it is more of a browser based desktop to manage Webtops and an IDE to develop Webtops. YouOS is developed by using Dojo toolkit. I will say Windows live gadgets are not upto the mark and I like Yahoo widgets than Live gadgets, but Yahoo widgets are desktop based.
Word Processor: I am surprised that ThinkFree could not make in the list. I assume InformationWeek did not even consider the ThinkFree online office as their Ajax version is not good, but their Java(Applet based) version has much advanced features which you cannot find with other online Ajax based processors. Since this is a Ajax applications comparison, they must have subsequently disregarded it. But its a worth to try it. It also proves that what cannot be done with Ajax can be done with Java(if you think initial loading of the Applet and forcing the browser to have Java is not a concern) . In Ajax applications, I accept that Zoho Writer is better than Writely as it has cool features such as word to HTML conversion.
Maps: Even though InformationWeek discarded this category, let me touch this too. If you consider the look and feel, again Google steals the show. But as a developer I worry about the features, not the look and feel. Compared to Google, Yahoo has number of APIs(not only Java Script APIs, it has Flash/Flex APIs) to mash up with maps. You can mash up maps with their Traffic API, Flickr API, Local Search API, Upcoming.org API, RSS feeds API. On the other hand, Microsoft has Brid’s eye images which is missing in Google maps. As per the reliable sources Google is currently(secretively) working on Bird’s eye maps.
What’s your pick among these applications? Google or you also say “Na!”. Share your thoughts in comments.