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2013: Web Products I Can't Live Without

2013: Web Products I Can't Live Without

by Brad MerrillDecember 28, 2013

The end of the year is just around the corner, which means it’s time for my annual list of web products I can’t live without. This is the fourth list of its kind—I’ve updated it every year since 2010. I really enjoy writing this post each year because it lets me get to know myself a bit, but also because it shows which companies are truly making an impact with their products.

We cover all kinds of startups on VentureBreak, but very few end up working their way into my daily life. A product’s true value is in its staying power. That’s something all of these products have in common for me. Some are for work, some are for fun, and some are for both. But I use most of them on a daily basis, and I wouldn’t be as happy or productive without them.

You can find last year’s list here.

I’ve removed two items since last year: Feedburner and Google Reader. Reader died a tragic death earlier this year, and I have no doubt that Feedburner is next.

I’ve also added two items to this year’s list: Digg Reader and MailChimp.

There’s one product that I considered including, but it didn’t quite make the cut: Turtl. As soon as the interface gets a little better, I’m fairly certain that Turtl will replace Evernote for me. Here’s why.

Here is my list, in alphabetical order, of the 15 web products I can’t live without:

Apple Maps

I’m bad with directions, so when my destination falls within unfamiliar territory, I count on my iPhone to get me there. We’ve seen quite a bit of controversy surrounding Apple Maps, but I think it works just fine—and it’s always getting better.

Who needs a dedicated navigation system when you have Siri?

Digg Reader

When Google discontinued Reader, I was left without a feed reader. After trying out a few alternatives, I’ve selected Digg Reader as my replacement of choice. It’s quite similar to Google Reader, and if you exported your feeds from Google, it’s easy to import them to Digg.

There are more powerful options out there, but I just love the simplicity of Digg’s interface.


Facebook, the world’s largest social network, is a big part of my online life. I use it every day to keep up with friends and family. It has, for me, become a communication tool as important as email. And with 1.19 billion monthly active users, I’m certainly not alone.


I decided to give Gmail a try in the early days, and I haven’t looked back. It trumps all other webmail services hands-down, and it keeps getting better and better.

Google Apps

Alongside Gmail, I use Google Apps. It powers email and other services for businesses and organizations. Unless your company has thousands of employees, there’s no need to maintain your own Exchange server. Google apps has you covered.

Google Chrome

I’m a long-time Chrome user as well. I tried it for the first time in 2008, when it was still in beta, before switching back to my familiar Firefox. Later, when it was more stable, I reinstalled it. By then, it was the best browser I had ever used, and it maintains that title to this day.

Google Drive

With its powerful cloud-based office suite, real-time collaboration, multi-platform apps, and killer research tools, Google Drive is the best solution of its kind. I no longer use Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, or any other desktop-based tools.


I’m still excited about Grooveshark, and it continues to be my on-demand music streaming service of choice. I love it.


I use MailChimp to manage my email lists. It’s incredibly easy to use, and I always recommend it to beginners because of their free options for smaller lists.


I listen to Pandora whenever I’m working. I’ve discovered so many new songs and artists from it.


Skype is one of the most important productivity tools I have. It’s my primary instant messaging client, and I generally prefer Skype calls over phone calls. It is quite possibly the best communication tool since email.


Techmeme is the daily newspaper of the tech industry. We use it every day to track the latest news across the blogosphere. We’re also featured there from time to time.

Fun fact: it seems that whenever you write something about Techmeme, it ends up on Techmeme. I wonder if this counts.


I love Twitter. It’s a great medium for sharing short tidbits of information—opinions, links, messages, jokes—to people who care. It’s part of my daily life, and it’s a great way to keep up with the latest news or what your friends are up to.


WordPress makes my life so much easier. It takes care of the technical side of things so I can focus on writing and editing. WordPress powers VentureBreak, as well as tens of millions of other sites on the web.


YouTube is great for entertainment, learning, and business. It’s the #1 video streaming service on the web, and I use it almost every day. Even when there’s nothing good on TV, there’s always something on YouTube.


What’s on your list? If you post a list of your own on your blog, let me know in the comments and I’ll link to it here.

About The Author
Brad Merrill
Brad Merrill is the founder and former editor of VentureBreak.