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ASPs Hosting Consumer Applications

USA Today reports on an emerging trend, consumer ASPs -- Software that runs on the Web � instead of from your computer's hard disk � is popping up all over the Internet.

Take, for instance, Writely, a word processor that mimics many of the features of Microsoft Word inside a Web browser. There's also Zimbra, a virtual clone of Microsoft Outlook, which runs comfortably inside an Internet Explorer or Firefox window.

A few years from now, we may ditch buying software on disc all together. Instead, we'll jack into powerful programs that are delivered over high-speed connections. Some of these tools, such as Writely, will be free. We'll pay a few bucks a month to use others like Zimbra.

Glide Effortless is the newest Web app to hit the Net � and the slickest, most innovative we've seen. It packages powerful, but easy-to-use tools, for saving and sharing all kinds of digital files, including music, videos, photos, word processing documents and PowerPoint presentations.

In many respects, Glide is a lot like having Apple's iPhoto or iTunes programs running inside of a Web browser. Photos, songs, movies and documents are represented as thumbnails on the screen that you can drag into "containers" that act like Apple's albums and play lists. Roll over a thumbnail of a song, and it will start playing. Videos also play back as you roll over their thumbnails. These added touches aren't something you'll see in the latest versions of iTunes, iPhoto or any comparable tools we're familiar with.

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