It looks like PCWorld thinks Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) are going to be a big thing to watch this year because their list of the Top 25 sites to watch has a few recognizable names. The first is Popfly, Microsoft's mashup creator that is targeted at geeks and average users a like. It's been getting a lot of buzz and is a really fun RIA to play with while showcasing Silverlight technology.
Also on the list were Goowy, a Flash-based webtop and Picnik, a Flex application that lets amateur photographers retouch their photos from right inside the browser. Also surprising were the number of rich media sites on the list. Sites like Splashcast, Eyespot and Yodio all incorporate Rich Media elements and have helped expand what the web browser can do while blending a variety of web technologies.
It's really great to see the excitement of RIAs transcend the small group of people that have been tracking them and move into a more general audience. The applications on the web are getting more sophisticated and users are coming to expect a much higher degree of interactivity and richness. What's great is that this is all happening inside the browser. As the richness of the desktop moves into the browser and blurs the lines between a desktop app and a browser app, we can focus on when we should be deploying a desktop app and when we should be leveraging the power of the browser. It's going to be a fun conversation and these sites are leading the way.