Google Maps and 5 other web apps you should add to your iOS home screen

Apple's Maps downturn has reminded us all about the power of web apps. Here are 5 quite handy and free web tools for small screens.

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Apple’s own Maps app, replacing a Google-backed Maps in the latest iPhone and iPad operating systems, has so many notable problems that it became a popular meme. Many called on Google to release its own Maps app through Apple’s App Store, but in the meantime, Google has done what it does best: do it on the web. So now you can, for example, see Street View images in the mobile web version of Google Maps. It’s a great time to click that “Share” button in your iPhone or iPad and choose “Add to Home Screen.”

Creating a Google Maps shortcut on iOS

While you’re doing that, you should check out a few more apps that exist in that old-time app store called the web. Some of them are quite, quite handy.

  • CopyPasteCharacter:

    CopyPasteCharacter on iOS
    Only word nerds and fans of emotive characters need apply. But when you’re looking for a proper em-dash (—), the peace sign (✌), or … tape reels (✇), then you’re in luck. CopyPasteCharacter has its own iPhone app, but the web version works great as it is: press, hold, and copy whatever character you need.

  • Notepad.cc: It’s a box into which you can type, on the web, available any time. It saves what you’re typing as you type it. If you want to bookmark that text, share it to someone else, or invite them to edit, you can give them the link to your particular text. But that’s all that Notepad.cc does, and it works on any device with a screen and keyboard.

  • Gmail: I wrote about the many things Gmail’s mobile webapp does well at TechRepublic, and I think they hold true, even now that Google has released its own Gmail app. The Gmail app can get weighed down over time with user data and syncing times, and the web version has a different look and feel that some might prefer.

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