Even in this golden age of Big Internet Companies Acquiring Everything In Sight, there are still a few independent, small webapps out there that don't get the attention they should for their useful functionality. Every once in awhile we get sick of constantly writing about the big name webapps everyone knows about, so today we're turning the spotlight away from the obvious greats and taking a look at online tools that may have flown under your radar. Here's our top 10 pick of of underhyped webapps that should get more attention than they do.
Note: There are hundreds of little independent webapps out there, and while we've tried many of them at least once, this list is slanted towards the products I use personally because they filled a need I (or someone close to me) had. Your list might look a lot different than this one—so tell us what we missed in the comments!
Cameraphone image scan to PDF via email Snap a photo of a whiteboard or document with your cameraphone and email it to Qipit.com, a webapp that scans your photo to a PDF document and stores it online automatically. Qipit ain't the prettiest webapp you'll ever see, but it does a great job of capturing meaning from low-res images of text. You can also fax images of documents from Qipit, too.
Social network creator Build your own social networking community site with Ning, a WYSIWYG web site creator that offers user registration and profiles, polls, blogs, photo albums, and boards at your own URL for free. While at least one LH reader complained about Ning being slow to load for highly-customized communities, it's still mind-blowing that Ning's made creating a dynamic, user-driven web application as easy as snapping together (virtual) Lego pieces.
Voice to text reminders, blog posts, and calendar events If you ever call your answering machine to leave yourself a reminder message, Jott's for you. Call Jott to leave your message instead, and get it transcribed and sent to your email address. You can also call Jott and send your voice message to your blog, Twitter account, or add events to your Google Calendar via Jott as well as other services.
Music library hosting and web playback Stop toting your entire iTunes library with you on the road: instead, upload unlimited MP3's to Anywhere.FM and listen from your web browser from anywhere. At some point Anywhere.FM may start charging for storage and playback, but while it's free, it's a convenient way to get your tunes on the go.
Group polling for scheduling large events When organizing a recent reunion event that involved upwards of 80 people trying to figure out what the best date was for everyone, Doodle's group polling app saved the day. Set up a Doodle poll with possible dates and times for any kind of gathering with lots of attendees, and email out the Doodle URL, where each person can enter what times they can make it, and see who else is available when.
Browser start page When Lifehacker alum Rick Broida ran his start page showdown, Netvibes was the clear winner. Set up your web dashboard at Netvibes, a sleek, drag and drop, customizable start page that gets all your crucial information in one place the moment you launch your browser. Here are a few ways to trick out your Netvibes.
4. Zoho Suite
Web-based office suite
While Google Docs seems to be the first product people think of when online office suites come up, the lesser-known Zoho Suite offers more products and features. See how Zoho stacks up against Google Docs.
Web-based instant messenger Chat with your buddies across multiple IM services without installing a thing using the Meebo web-based chat client. Meebo lets you log in and chat with buddies on AIM, MSN, Yahoo! Messenger, ICQ, and Jabber/GTalk.
Task manager, reminder system, personal organizer Amongst the slew of web-based task managers that have flooded the internet in the past couple of years, Remember the Milk stands head and shoulders above the rest: its modern interface and deep feature set make organizing your to-do's actually fun. Here's how to organize your life with Remember the Milk.
Which of your favorite webapps don't get the attention they deserve? Tell us about 'em in the comments.