What works: Five Web 2.0 products I still use

Even crusty Web reviewers develop long-term relationships with products. Rafe Needleman shares his favorites of late.

On most days, I put my hands on two to five new Web 2.0 products. I write up some of them, but pretty much forget about all of them by the time I wake up the next day. A few things do stick with me, though. Here's a list of products I am actually still using, weeks or months after the initial review:

Chrome

Google's new browser. Who needs it? If you have to ask, you haven't used it. (See all our Chrome coverage.)

Why I like it: Very fast. Very stable.

Areas for improvement: Extension support! I would use Chrome full time if I could import my favorite plug-ins, especially the password keeper Roboform. Also, Mac and Linux versions.

Evernote

This note-taking app has finally and completely replaced OneNote for me (it was a slow transition). It's a great place to store all your thoughts. It has a good search feature and it's good with photos--it even OCRs them in the background. Cool new feature: iPhone notes are now geo-encoded, and you can filter your display of notes by location. ( Read the review from March.)

Why I like it: Fast, reliable, and synchronizes across my PCs, my iPhone, and the Web.

Areas for improvement: I would like it if the text editor were keystroke-compatible with Microsoft Word. Shortcut keys I'm used to don't work in Evernote. It slows me down.

OtherInBox

Alternate in-box for bacn--the e-mail status updates you get from social services and commerce sites. (Read launch review from September 8.)

Why I like it: Can set up a new filter (actually a unique e-mail address) for a new service on the fly. Really does decrease load on my main in-box.

Areas for improvement: It's still in private beta, and the features aren't all built-out yet (like receipt tracking). Could be faster.

Bonus: I just got 500 new invitations to the OtherInBox private beta for Webware readers. Get yours.

TripIt

A good place to collate all the planning data that goes into a vacation or business trip. I use it to create a printed itinerary before each of my trips, and I e-mail a copy to my family too, so they know where I am. Nothing that can't be done with a calendar app or word processor, but it's much faster with TripIt. ( Read first take from September 2007.)

Why I like it: Makes organizing trip info easier. Saves time.

Areas for improvement: Needs an iPhone app. (The mobile Web site is nice, but isn't fast enough when you need trip info ASAP.) Also, could do better at parsing e-mail confirmations you get from non-mainstream sources,

Twhirl

Best desktop Twitter and Friendfeed client from the company that's behind Seesmic, which I never use. Updated frequently with new features. (Read initial review from March.)

Why I like it: I use multiple nanoblog accounts , and Twhirl does a great job of letting me see and write to all of them separately. Good support for photo uploads.

Areas for improvement: I would like the promised option for single-pane view of everything. Also a Ping.fm-like feature to post to multiple nanoblogs at once.

Extra: Dead to me

There are some products I used to love, but have (or want to) stop using. These apps, for example, are in the process of becoming dead to me:

NetVibes. A useful single-page aggregator, but it's slow to load and the log-in screen is a pain to get through whenever your browser forgets your identity. I'm seriously thinking of switching over to iGoogle.

Trillian. The instant-messaging aggregation app still works, but it loads up almost as slowly as Outlook. No excuse for that. I'm in the process of switching over to Pidgin.

 

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