With the proliferation of web-based applications out there, have you ever wondered why companies don’t make native applications that can run from your desktop like they do with mobile platforms? Well, for one, cost is an issue–it’s cheaper to develop one website that’s compatible across platforms than it is to develop multiple stand-alone applications. Just look at mobile development–it’s almost like pulling teeth to get an iOS application ported to Android (and, to be fair, vice versa), which is why only the biggest companies with the most resources usually have multiple platform applications. If you don’t have their preferred platform, you just have to deal with the mobile website.
So, back to desktop apps. I use Google Music almost religiously as well as HootSuite, Wave Accounting, and a multitude of other sites for my day-to-day business. It’s more efficient for me to have an icon on my dock that I can just click and open a particular application (considering my Firefox browser usually has multiple tabs open already). In steps Fluid, a small application for OSX that will create a capsule for your favourite web applications, allowing you to tuck it safely into your Applications folder or conveniently on your dock, complete with its own settings and icon. I have to admit, it’s a tremendous time-saver and keeps my desktop nice and organised. Best of all, it’s free! There is also a “premium” version that costs $5 (As Clark Howard would say, “What a DEAL!”) that gives you a few more options such as separate cookie storage and using full screen mode in Lion, but the free version will do for most users.