Online Apps Take Over for Programs

By: Dave Nicosia

July 12, 2016

Web Apps Are Replacing Programs

Programs that you install to your computer are becoming rarer and rarer these days. Pretty much anything you could want to do, you can do in your browser.

Google Docs replaces Microsoft Word. Spotify can be played both in browser and in a program. Excel Sheets are now done in Google Sheets. Microsoft Money is being slowly replaced by a web app called Mint. Powerpoint presentations are being replaced by Prezis. Thanks to Netflix and Hulu, you can even watch TV in your browser. 

Thanks to Netflix and Hulu, you can even watch TV shows in your web browser.

Benefits to Web Apps

One of the up sides to these offerings is that most of them take up little to no space on your computer. While many of these programs do give the option to store things on the computer itself, rarely is it necessary.

Spotify is on of the few web apps that has the option to download the program, but the program takes up very little physical space as all of its data is stored online.

Another feature to web apps is that you can use them anywhere. Create a playlist in Spotify, and if you change computers or temporarily use another one you can still access your computer. All of your documents, presentations, etc. can be found anywhere you can log into Google Drive.

With a program, you only have your files on one device and rely on physical medium such as flash drives and portable hard drives to transport them. Even then, you are dependent on the other computer having the same program.

Have you ever been trying to restart your computer and it gets stuck updating? Or you go to open a program and it notifies you that there is an update to the program and you have to wait for it to install and restart before use?

Well most web apps don’t have this problem. When the creator wants to update the program, they simply update it. When you open things up again, the changes will be instigated automatically.

Downsides to Web Apps

There are a few downsides to non-native programs.

One main one is the issue of security. If you are working with something like bank account or credit card information, you want to make sure that you are using a web app that is trustworthy to protect your information to the best of their ability.

However, there are still more security vulnerabilities using the internet than there are on a native program.

There are still situations where a native program would be preferable so they are not quite endangered yet.

Another problem is their complete reliance on internet connectivity.

Google created an operating system called Chrome OS, which runs on their Chromebooks. All of the ‘programs’ on this computer are actually based online using things such as Drive, Mail, etc. to create and store things.

Because of this reliance on the internet, this entire computer ceases to be useful the moment it is disconnected from the internet.

Luckily for programs, there are so many situations where a native program would be preferable that they are not endangered yet. But as internet connectivity spreads, they are becoming less and less necessary.