When browsing the Internet for specific research, shopping, communication, etc., we often see a number of websites that appear as a specific application rather than a general website interface. It may be a reason that we are accessing a respective resource through a website application or a web application.
Many businesses and companies are using web applications these days to facilitate communication and the exchange of information. Supported by Google, the web application is designed to deliver a high level of performance in a cost-effective manner regardless of device or network quality. From productivity software to marketing and customer service tools, these applications help us get our work done quickly and efficiently.
In this article, we are discussing some of the most popular examples of web applications that we often come across while browsing the internet for specific needs. However, before we discuss the examples of web applications, let us first take a brief introduction to the definition of a web application.
What is a Web Application?
By the definition, “A web application is defined as a computer program that utilizes the specific web browsers and web technologies to help us accomplish certain tasks over the internet.”
A web application typically uses a web browser as the user interface and runs through a web server that responds to certain requests made by us as a client through the browser. That's why web applications are also called the 'client-server model'. Web applications rely on Internet connectivity and can work through supported browsers on various devices, such as desktop computers, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, etc.
With the advancement in web applications, commonly referred to as progressive web applications (PWAs), some of these applications can work without an internet connection, enabling syncing feature once an internet connection is available. These applications are designed to be responsive so that their appearance automatically adjusts based on the devices.
What are the examples of web applications?
Nowadays, there are many web applications on the internet, and even new ones are coming regularly with unique features. With web applications, as long as the browser is compatible, users have the advantage of using the respective source on different platforms regardless of device or operating system.
There is a wide range of dynamic web applications in different categories, including word processors, spreadsheets, email, file scanning, file conversions, shopping carts, online forms, photo or video editing, and more.
Although there are many web applications of different categories to help us perform certain tasks, listed below are some notable examples of web applications:
Google Office Suite
Google Office Suite, also known as Google Workspace and G Suite, is one of the most popular and widely used collections of web applications. Google Docs is one of its word processing web applications that helps users to create documents using a web browser, while automatically saving document data on the respective server.
Like Google Docs, G Suite's other popular web applications include Gmail, Drive, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and more. Some of these web applications (Gmail, Docs, etc.) also work without internet connectivity available at all times. They allow users to work in offline mode and sync data with servers as soon as they are connected to the internet.
Google is always striving to bring its products to the web, making them accessible to everyone through a browser. However, all Google products are also available as mobile applications and typical native websites.
Microsoft Office 365
Initially, Microsoft developed its Office suite as a set of software, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc., that needed to be installed on the Windows platform. However, after the launch of the Google Office suite, Microsoft also released its Office suite as a web app to compete in the market. Like the Google Office suite, the software included in Office 365 works through the browser like other web applications.
Office 365 (also known as Office Web Apps and Microsoft Office for the Web) is an online office suite that allows users to create and edit Office documents or files through a modern web browser. This makes it easy for users to work in the cloud while syncing their files or data across multiple devices. With Office 365, a collaboration between people has also become easier, allowing them to work securely on files shared online as a team, remotely.
Along with the Office desktop and web versions, users can also install the Microsoft Office applications on their mobile devices running on major platforms such as iOS and Android.
Amazon is one of the most popular and largest online retailers in the world. In the beginning, Amazon was focused on selling books. However, it then expanded to sell many more consumer goods and digital media such as e-books. Nowadays, Amazon is also selling its own electronic devices (e.g., Kindle e-book readers, Fire TV, Alexa, etc.) and many other products.
In 1994, Amazon was initially incorporated by Jeff Bezos under the name Cadabra. However, with its website launch in 1995, its name was changed to Amazon. Amazon also came out with its own comprehensive, evolving cloud computing platform in 2006, called Amazon Web Services (AWS).
AWS aims to provide users with on-demand scalable web and application servers, databases, storage, cache, search, backup, DNS, load balancing, content delivery, and many other web and application services so that users can build and run applications while delivering a great user experience.
With its launch of the web application, Amazon made it even easier for users to access its products directly through a browser, while accessing most of the amazing features in a quick and fast way. Additionally, Amazon has made digital streaming easier and more accessible through the browser. This resulted in an increase in conversions as well.
Canva is a great example of a web application designed primarily for visual creators. It provides an easy-to-use, quick, user-friendly interface to help users create graphics like images, logos, posters, animations, presentations, videos, etc. It was established in 2012 and gained popularity with its amazing features.
One of the amazing features of Canva is the syncing which helps users access their designs across different devices using their accounts. Additionally, users can share as well as work collaboratively on designs from different locations.
Although Canva is currently not as popular as Adobe Creative Suite, it has made it easier for beginners to create designs. Unlike Adobe products, Canva doesn't require high-end devices and a lot of local space. Being a web application, Canva runs through a web browser using the Internet. With the ever-evolving nature of web technologies, Canva is going to be more powerful and will bring graphics designing to a website as a whole. We can also download and install the Canva mobile application.
Pinterest is one of the world's most popular image sharing and social media service platforms that enables users to search, share and download images, GIFs, PNGs, and videos on their Pinboards. Users will need to create an account on Pinterest or log in using the respective services to access all the amazing features. Many businesses are taking advantage of this platform to promote their products, increase blog traffic and generate new leads.
Initially, Pinterest did not receive a good response and struggled to acquire new users as well as retain existing users. Most users reported that the Pinterest website experience was too slow, resulting in reduced sign-ups and mobile app installs. This led to the development of Pinterest's progressive web application.
Pinterest's progressive web application has enabled faster performance, push notifications, offline mode access, syncing, and many other amazing features. This resulted in greater user engagement on the mobile web and further increases in ad clicks, sign-ups, and time spent by users.
Spotify is an audio-streaming platform that is widely used all over the world. The company mainly focuses on providing music streaming; however, it has recently become a leader in podcast production and distribution.
Spotify provides users with amazing features and a professional, easy-to-use user interface. Users can save their favorite songs, create and share song lists, select specific categories for a personalized music experience, and play the same song on multiple devices at once.
To compete in the market, Spotify created a progressive web app version like other platforms. The Spotify PWA version is significantly faster and offers some unique features compared to its native website experience. Its intuitive, user-friendly PWA version prioritizes music discovery, which has helped the product rise through the ranks of music solution providers over the years.
Netflix is one of the most popular video-streaming OTT platforms and is available as both a web application and a mobile application. Netflix allows users to watch TV series and movies on demand on a paid subscription basis. Like other web applications, we can access Netflix on various devices through supported browsers regardless of the operating system.
Based on the selected Netflix subscription, users get to watch the content on multiple devices without any limitations. In addition, Netflix allows users to watch personalized content, mark favorites, access different categories, etc.
Netflix demonstrates how web apps can be ideal as a content platform. Netflix currently has the highest number of subscribers as compared to other popular OTT platforms like Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Disney+Hotstar, VOOT, etc.
WhatsApp is one of the world's most popular cross-platform messaging applications that enables users to send and receive messages from their devices using the Internet. It was initially released in 2009 by two former Yahoo employees, Jen Koum and Brian Acton. In 2014, WhatsApp was bought by Facebook.
WhatsApp was initially launched only for mobile devices. However, it was later released for all major platforms due to its increasing popularity. In 2015, the company also introduced WhatsApp Web, a program that enables users to access their messages using modern browsers. The WhatsApp web application was nothing but an extension of the user's phone. That means it was not meant to operate independently. Instead, it typically mirrored messages and conversations from the user's mobile devices while keeping all the data on the mobile devices.
To use WhatsApp Web, users need to log in through the browser by scanning the personal QR code generated by WhatsApp's own mobile application. Also, both the mobile application and the web version of WhatsApp need to be connected to the Internet to continue their functions.
Zoom is a cloud-based audio/video communication program or software that enables users to conduct virtual conferencing or meetings, live chat, create events or webinars, and perform many other collaborative tasks.
Zoom was founded in 2011 by Eric Yuan, a former Cisco engineer, and executive. However, Zoom gained a lot of popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. It helped people to work, communicate or get education remotely from the comfort of their homes. It has both free and subscription-based plans with some limited features.
The Zoom web application enables users to join meetings or webinars using their web browser without downloading any software or plugins. However, the web client version of Zoom does not provide all the features and not all browsers are supported. Zoom web application was intended to help users who are limited in downloading due to their internet speed or device capacity.
Uber is one of the popular ride-sharing platforms that enables users to book rides from one place to another by paying relevant charges. Users get various online and offline payment options. Also, it allows users to book a ride for themselves or their relatives by availing the internet from the comfort of their homes.
Uber was incorporated in 2009 and soon became popular in many countries. The service is available in thousands of cities around the world, allowing users to request rides when needed. The company usually hires independent contractors as drivers to continue its services. This means that people can also join Uber as a driver to earn a good amount of money.
With its growing popularity, Uber came up with two different web applications, one for drivers and the other for riders. Both the web applications have different interfaces and can be accessed after logging in using the respective driver/rider account credentials. In this way, Uber significantly provided an app-like experience to users on their devices through modern browsers, regardless of users' mobile capability, location, and network speed.
This article discusses about 10 examples of web applications that are most popular and widely used to fulfill certain requirements. These web applications include many of the same functionalities and design elements as their respective websites or mobile applications. However, web applications have several advantages or benefits as compared to their typical websites or mobile applications.