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Web applications aren't, in most cases, real replacements for desktop software. Google Docs or Zoho will never be as fast, as powerful or as easy to use as Microsoft Office or OpenOffice, but their other strengths could convince some people to use them.
On the other hand, Gmail and Google Reader could easily replace many desktop email clients and feed readers, as most of the time when you read your mail or news you're online.
Browsers' limitations, security risks, latency, the lack of offline access are serious problems that won't be solved too soon and will continue to prevent many web applications to become real alternatives for their desktop relatives.
Did you replace a desktop application with a web app that has a similar functionality? What desktop applications do you think will become obsolete in 5 years?
(Originally published in August 2007)
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