Have websites seen their best days come and go already? As apps—both mobile and desktop—forge ahead, OS-specific downloads may take over the way people access their data, even as the Web once seemed ready to take over for the desktop computing. But guess what? Web apps and websites are still growing more amazing every day.
When we search for candidates for our list, we look foremost for sites that can appeal to just about everyone. They’re always useful to a majority of users of any background or skill level. This year, the Top 100 is again split between all-time classics (68 total) and new, fantastic “undiscovered” sites we want to share with you (32 total).
Of course, a few of last year’s undiscovered sites have become so adored that we moved them into the classics list— that includes sites like our favorite free music service, Spotify; the always hilarious Bad Lip Reading; uber-geek comic The Oatmeal; the darling of crowd-sourcing, Kickstarter; and the fast-growing virtual corkboard, Pinterest. We also had to say good-bye to some sites that are no longer with us, like Meebo and Picnic. (Thanks for killing them both, Google.)
We hope you’ll sit back with the laptop tonight to explore these new sites and revisit the classics. And while you’re at it, leave us a comment about your own favorite site. It’s never too early start on the list for 2013.
When Google shut down Meebo, it could have left a big hole in our hearts…and more importantly, in our ability to send instant messages via a Web-based service. Luckily, imo was there to take up the slack and become an instant favorite, with all the same features and even some improvements. Mobile access via imo apps seals the deal; imo is a great way to instant message.—Eric Griffith
This new favorite for quickie file transfers and sharing lets you drag and drop as many files as you like (up to 2GB total if you sign up) to the site and send out a URL for others to grab them. That it’s also available inside Web-based mail systems and as an iOS app makes it all the more useful.—EG
So long, Hotmail. As of this summer Outlook.com is our new Editors’ Choice when it comes to Web-based email apps. It has a clean interface, excellent organizational tools, support for aliases, and no ads (if you’re looking at messages from people in your contact list).—EG
From the ashes of Picnic, a new favorite pic-editing app has risen. PicMonkey lets you start editing a photo without even registering. You can use basic tools (crop, rotate, exposure, colors, sharpen, resize), apply effects, touch up images, add text and frames and other overlays, and more. Then you can save the image or share it to social networks.—EG
While far from the only Web-based video meeting system, Meetings.io has one of the easiest interfaces to get you talking amongst yourselves. Up to five users can meet at once. Screen sharing is a given, and you can share videos from sites like YouTube and Vimeo. You don’t have to sign up to use Meetings.io, but if you do, you can personalize a spot for all future live chats and hangouts.—EG
Let Me Google That For You
“How do I take a screen shot on a PC?” asks your friend, who knows you only use Apple products. We all have friends or co-workers who ask questions that you end up Googling, when they could have just as easily searched for the answers themselves. Next time, remind them passive-aggressively that they are plenty capable of finding the solution. Simply type their question into the search box of lmgtfy.com and reply to the slouch with the site-generated link, which shows a quick animation of just how easy it is to key in the query.—Meredith Popolo
Your mom busted in and said, “What’s that noise?” Now you don’t have to explain your hip-hop to anyone, just direct them to Rap Genius so they can decipher all things unequivible lyrical mysterical difficult. The site takes a Wikipedia-style approach, allowing anyone to contribute explanations, though the task might best be left to those the site says it mimics, “the nerd-ass ‘rap dictionary’ dorm-mate you had in college.”—Chandra Steele
We’ve got a Songza in our hearts. The service leads as listeners choose the mood of the tunes they want to hear. Wednesday afternoon? Songza wants to know if you need an energy boost, are working, playing DJ for the office, or just want to hear something new. Friday late night, it suggests you may be getting high, going to bed, getting lucky, hosting a house party, or coming down from a crazy night. If you don’t want to own up to any of the above, you can listen anonymously or sign in if you share socially.—CS
If you missed that concert with your absolute favorite artist and can’t find any clips from it on YouTube to make you feel even worse, you can check out Switchcam. Users on the site curate footage of performances taken from multiple cameras and angles and turn it into one big event that you can watch in the comfort of your own home. The site is still in the early stages of creation, so become a director while you still can.—Eric Griffith
Animated GIFs had their second coming this year, and nowhere on the Web were they more celebrated than on this Tumblr. The formula is simple: take an overly emotional loop (often from pop culture or of an adorably cuddly animal) and slap on an ALL CAPS caption that describes an all-too-relatable moment.—MP
Houzz is “house porn”—you know, pictures of the sexiest interiors and exteriors of homes you can imagine—at its best. What’s more, it’s a community of people who are interested in or looking to redesign a home or landscape. Its database contains hundreds of thousands of images of rooms in various styles that home owners can save to their Houzz account and use as inspiration when talking to contractors and architects.—Eric Griffith
If you’re an expert on a topic, you should teach it; likewise, you probably want to learn about select topics only from experts. Learnist is a good place to start. Still in beta (request an invite!), the site has sections such as Food & Drink, News, Education, Health & Fitness, Politics, Sports, Technology, and more where the experts gather the best sources for learning, be they blogs, essays, images, or videos.—EG
Remember when people learned new words using a word-a-day calendar or something equally archaic? Vocabulary.com bills itself the “most intelligent way to improve” your lexicon, no matter what your education level. Take the quizzes at this site and you’ll be spouting new idioms to all with dexterous proficiency.—EG
BuzzFeed—instigator of memes, creator of animated GIFs—made a New Year’s resolution of sorts to take life (but not itself) a little more seriously. Starting in January, it hired some well-respected journalists and started to blend in real news among posts documenting “25 Most Awkward Cat Sleeping Positions.”—Chandra Steele
Mobile-focused biz news site Quartz is floating off The Atlantic, hoping to win out in publishing’s ongoing financial battle.”We don’t want to be the Royal Navy,” the site’s founder and owner of Atlantic Media David Bradley told the New York Times. “We want to be the pirate ship attacking the Royal Navy.” For the effort, Bradley has conscripted top former print journalists.—CS
The goal of Fab is to “help people better their lives with design.” That means connecting users with great shopping deals on designer stuff, but with what it calls “social shopping,” so you’re sharing a live feed of what you browse and buy. Likewise, you can watch your friends do the same, all using Facebook and Pinterest.—Eric Griffith
Yes, you can go through a travel agent and book a touristy trip, but if you want to vacation like a local instead, check out Gidsy. It hooks you up with locals in foreign (or not-so-foreign) lands, so you can partake in the kind of activities that no desk-bound agent could know about. Gidsy also lets you show off your expertise by becoming a guide in your own hometown, for which you can get paid.—EG
The Swizzle Sweeper
Formerly called Unsubscribr (which, let’s face it, was a better name), the Swizzle Sweeper is there to help you unsubscribe from all your spam. Of course, it also helps you “enjoy deals” from vendors you do like, but the selling point is getting off as many bulk-mailing lists as possible with one fell swoop.—EG
This financial aggregator could give Mint.com a run for its money when it comes to paying bills. You use the site as one spot to manage your linked accounts—banking, credit cards, and rewards. You’ll get reminders on bills as needed so you’re never late with payments. It’s fully secure and has mobile app options to use on your smartphone. And it’s all totally free.—EG
“One step ahead” (in Louboutins) is the unofficial motto of the fashionistae. Moda Operandi leads the charge by letting them order clothing and accessories straight from the runway. Shoppers can view online trunk shows (and Fashion Week runway shows), place a 50 percent deposit on what catches their eye, receive the item in the mail within four months, and then sashay shantay.—Chandra Steele
Everything old is new again at Warby Parker, from the eyeglass styles they offer to the price of them. With its name (a mashup of Kerouac characters), vintage-style frames, and $95 across-the-board price, the brand is a hit with hipsters. Which is crazy, man, crazy, since the look is decidedly 1950s square.—CS
The Fancy is actually pretty simple by design. It’s a filtery, stripped-down version of Pinterest but with the option to shop right from each image. Fancy members get two percent of every sale if a friend purchases an item through one of their links. Fancy members can also sell their own products or buy some of the site’s, like Fancy gift cards and box subscriptions ($30 a month for $60+ worth of Fancy-selected products).—CS
Want to go shopping just for awesome stuff? Vat19 is devoted to not just awesome, but “curiously awesome” products. Who doesn’t need a five-pound gummy bear? Vat19’s staff generates an original comedy video for just about everything it sells. All items are stocked so it never has a backorder, it’ll deliver to 70 nations on earth (with a flat shipping rate of $4.99 on every order or free shipping on orders over $125), and it’ll send items out the same day you order.—EG
The social network Branch grows out of a topic. Members either grab something for the Web or add an original thought and then start up a conversation around it by inviting people via email or Twitter. Branches can reach out across the Web by being embedded or shared.—Chandra Steele
Cowbird calls itself the community for storytellers, preferably with the kind of stories that “will continue to resonate in 50 years.” There’s no video, just photos, sounds, and text, which you own, but license out via Creative Commons. It’s like having a special place to tell your most personal tales, linked by author or subject. The deeper your story, the more likely it is to belong at this site.—Eric Griffith
Think of Gentlemint as the “Pinterest for guys.” One of many sites that apes the look of that popular social network favored by woman, Gentlemint’s “mint of manly things” shows pics of knives, food (frequently with bacon), cameras, cars, beards, tech, tools, weapons, and many more dude-ly pursuits, all with links worth following. If you’re manly enough.—EG
Pheed might seem like just another place to post your thoughts—just like Twitter or Facebook—but Pheed wants to give you the option of “monetizing” that “content.” On Pheed, you can charge people to partake of your genius. You don’t have to make them pay—the cost can range from $1.99 to $34.99 per month (or per post) to follow you—but why not try? Maybe you’re that good.—EG
Do you celebrate red cup season at Starbucks with more fervor than Christmas or Hanukkah? Does Pepsi pump through your veins? With Pongr, loyal fans can show off the brands they love by snapping photos of their favorite products and sending them to the brand’s Pongr page. Pongr provides a convenient platform for brands to run contests, and users can collect points to unlock rewards.—Meredith Popolo
Rebel Mouse wants to be your “social front page,” a URL you hand out to others so they see all your social posts. Sign-up is free but you can get an individualized URL for $3 a month (or $3 a week if you’re a business brand using it).—EG
The Verge took its time launching its gaming site, Polygon, and in doing so, it got it right. Lavishly illustrated reviews with insider details and gorgeous, well-reported features seem to be the hallmark at this early stage. It’ll be a site serious gamers want to check in with regularly.—Eric Griffith
Jotti does one thing amazingly well: it lets you check a single file from your computer against multiple anti-virus programs. Upload the file and it gets checked with Avast, AVG, BitDefender, ClamAV, ESET, F-Secure, Sophos, Kaspersky, Panda, and a bunch more. It can take a while, but it can also mean never worrying.—EG
Watts Up With That?
Meteorologist Anthony Watts tells it like it is about climate change, technology, science, and nature. Watts is temperate in his views, doubting some climate issues while driving an electric car and using a solar array on his home.—Chandra Steele
Give Google a break and take Bing for a spin. This Microsoft “decision engine” sports a sleek design and perhaps the best travel search around. It underwent a major redesign in May, integrating a social sidebar. Though its search results are on par with other top search engines, “its organized, consistent layout and helper features for travel, shopping, and health vault it over the top,” according to software analyst Michael Muchmore.—Meredith Popolo
• Read PCMag’s Microsoft Bing (Spring 2012) review.
Google’s blog platform was one of the first back in the 1990s. Now it’s fully Google-fied with fancy new updates and integrated with tools like Google Analytics and Google AdSense so you can get the most out of your blogging experience instantly.—Eric Griffith
• Read PCMag’s Blogger (2011) review.
Whether you try the free personal account with 5GB of space, or sign up a whole office of users (at $15 per user per month), Box is a powerful place to get control of your documents, media, and anything that goes online. You can share it, sync files, access it from the phone, do work with others online, and integrate it with other software like Google Apps and Salesforce.—EG
• Read PCMag’s Box (Personal) review.
Ditch the desktop-based apps and embrace the cloud with Google Drive (once called Google Docs). It brings a full-featured office suite experience to your browser and, more importantly, allows for multi-user collaboration. Files automatically save, with easy access to previous versions, and since they exist online, they are reachable from any browser. A new feature also makes it possible to sync files with your desktop, as well.—MP
• Read PCMag’s Google Drive review.
Google’s Web-based email client has set a new standard by being both sparse and uncomplicated, but also fast and full of features. (Check out the Labs tab if you don’t think it has plenty of extras.) It’s totally free, has lots of storage, and almost never lets spam through.—EG
• Read PCMag’s Gmail review.
If This Then That
The structure is simple: “if this, then that.” Meaning, “if this certain thing happens, then make this other thing happen.” It could be as simple as saying, “If I’m tagged on Facebook, then send me an SMS message.” It can tie into social networks (but the Twitter triggers are missed!), email, phone, weather reports, to-do lists, instant messages, Internet radio, RSS feeds, and so much more. The possibilities of what you can create are almost endless. Check the “recipes” for examples.—EG
Mint.com makes personal finance simple. The Intuit-owned site monitors bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and investments safely in one place. Users can set budgets in different areas (Bills & Utilities, Food & Dining, Mortgage & Rent, etc.) and Mint automatically categorizes charges.—MP
• Read PCMag’s Mint.com review.
Making a presentation online is easy at a number of places, but Prezi actually makes it fun. Slides don’t just slide, they animate all over, jumping and zooming in and out of bits of texts as necessary. A brand-new look with a new layout makes it even easier to use.—EG
• Read PCMag’s Prezi review.
Anyone with a Yahoo account has access to this free Web-based email service. PCMag praises its airy interface centered on tabs and easy approach to running Web apps directly from the inbox. Lead Software Analyst Michael Muchmore calls out the YouSendIt plugin as especially handy since it “lets you automatically share large files stored in the cloud rather than as attachment.” An update to Yahoo Mail was recently announced that PCMag hasn’t had a chance to test yet. We’re optimistic it retains everything we like, and adds some great new features.—MP
• Read PCMag’s Yahoo Mail (Summer 2012) review.
Awkward Family Photos
You can never see enough family awkwardness. This site takes the best atrocious imagery, usually of the “posed family gathering” type, and collects it for all of us to be horrified into hilarity. Whether shirtless, dressed for the Renaissance fair, packing heat while in a bridal gown, or what have you, there’s a picture here to make everyone cringe.—Eric Griffith
Bad Lip Reading
What began as a way of ridiculing Rebecca Black’s “Friday” song has morphed into the most entertaining way to see politicians get picked on since Chevy Chase did pratfalls. Bad Lip Reading takes actual footage of celebrities and politicos and dubs offensive or nonsensical dialogue with mad audio-looping skills.—EG
The editors of Boing Boing know what’s cool and geeky, and usually find whatever combines the two. Whether curating the most amazing things on the Web or doing some serious journalism, Boing Boing is always worth a visit.—EG
If you can get a picture of an animal (preferably a very young critter) that meets some of the rules of cuteness on this site (including “look helpless”) then you’ve got a winner that, like most of the content here, is set to make you say “aawwwwwwwww!”—EG
Damn You, Auto Correct!
iPhone users face a daunting task every day: overcoming the “helpful” auto correct feature that completes words for you as you type, using a best guess at what you really meant to say. Sure, maybe 99 percent of the time it works. But at least one percent of the time, it doesn’t. The best NSFW text messages that result are featured every day on this site.—EG
F My Life
We’ve all said it at one time or another. The people who submit their short tales of woe to the F My Life site (you can guess what the “F” stands for) usually have far worse problems than you do. Just to rub salt in the wound, you can vote on whether people deserved their misfortunes, or feel pity that their lives suck. Either way, it’s no fun for them, just for you.—EG
When you need step-by-step instructions for just about anything, visit Instructables. It’s the ultimate DIY site for everything from cooking to building rockets, complete with images, diagrams, and even videos. The content is user-provided, so you can post your own Instructable on whatever it is you make best.—G E
Letters of Note
If you still believe in taking the time to write a real letter to people who matter and take great pleasure in receiving one in kind, Letters of Note will hold powerful appeal. The site scans and posts missives from celebrities, which range from the mundane to the outright hilarious. Each scanned missive comes with a transcript, in case the handwriting is hard to read. It’s a wonderful reminder of the power of the written word.—Laarni Almendrala Ragaza
Not Always Right
The saying goes, “the customer is always right,” but that is so obviously not true to anyone who’s ever worked retail (or watched anyone else go shopping). This site is filled with the best anecdotes of those on the shopping front lines, who deal with the worst humanity has to offer in the shopping ranks. Prepare to be shocked (or maybe not) by the craven acts and utter stupidity of your fellow man.—EC
You know The Oatmeal well if you’ve been forwarded the cartoons with topics like “Ten Words You Need to Stop Misspelling” or the continuing story of “The Bobcats” (featuring evil kitties at the office). The bug-eyed denizens of Matthew Inman’s comics are among the funniest online (many are NSFW). That Inman uses his powers for good—like helping fund a museum about Nikola Tesla—makes it all the sweeter to read.—EG
The Onion is news satire so good that some in the audience lacking the comedy gene often mistake its tongue-in-cheek headlines for reality. It’s been perfecting its craft since 1988 and in the last five years has branched into audio and video, creating the “Onion News Network.”—EG
This gorgeous, award-winning blog is seriously about eating. There are sub-sites just for people who prefer burgers, pizza, drinks, and sweets, but the main site is still chock full of great posts about meals and articles that can help the world, like “Airport Food that Doesn’t Suck.” All of them are accompanied by food photos that you should avoid close to lunchtime.—EG
With a mix of utter geekery and sometimes touching commentary, always backed by solid humor, XKCD has become the go-to comic strip online for those seeking computer science jokes. No wonder, creator Randall Monroe’s got a degree in physics and worked on robots for NASA. Why is it called “XKCD?” Because there’s no way to pronounce it except by saying the letters, that’s why.—EG
Original videos from CollegeHumor crop up everywhere and for a good reason: these guys are hilarious. From their original shows, like the long-running “Jake and Amir” short and the amazing Star Wars parody “Troopers,” to the more general one-off videos, articles, and pictures, it’s full-time funny.—Eric Griffith
Funny or Die
Original comedy videos have been appearing on Funny or Die for years now, usually staring the Hollywood elite (stars like Emma Stone, Jack Black, Charlize Theron, and many others), thanks to big-names like founders Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. If a video isn’t funny and you vote “die,” it goes to the crypt. But for the most part, the “funny” wins.—EG
Remember the last time you watched a TV show in its actual time slot? Probably not. That’s why there’s Hulu.com. The site offers a free stream of both TV shows and movies, as well as episodes of Web-based shows. It allows users to catch up on episodes and check out shows they would have otherwise missed. Granted, it’s doesn’t offer every episode and it doesn’t have every show available (not even with a Hulu Plus subscription), but it offers enough to keep you from feeling left out of the water-cooler conversations.—Laarni Almendrala Ragaza
• Read PCMag’s Hulu Plus review.
Despite last year’s bumpy ride with threats of splitting the service and price hikes, Netflix remains the most popular option for streaming media. For a flat monthly rate, subscribers can stream unlimited hours of movies and television shows from the Watch Instantly library, and it’s started creating original programming. The company still rents DVDs without late fees, too.—Meredith Popolo
The trailblazer in personalized Internet radio stations, Pandora creates custom music stations based on users’ favorite bands or songs with help from the Music Genome Project. The intermittent ads hardly disrupt the robust stream of music and the killer smartphone app lets users listen on the go. PCMag called it the best streaming music service for the laid back listener, as it offers a minimalist interface and a very hands-off experience.—MP
• Read PCMag’s Pandora review.
A PCMag Editors’ Choice, this streaming Internet radio service keeps users grooving with its customization options. Like Pandora, users can create tailored stations, but we call it the best streaming music service for tweakers, as it lets users compulsively fine-tune playlists.—MP
• Read PCMag’s Slacker Radio (2012) review.
Surf on over to YouTube to watch anything from archived C-SPAN footage to cute cat memes. This video-sharing site has revolutionized uploading, sharing, and watching content. Media outlets like BBC, Vevo, and CBS have made select material available through a YouTube partnership, although the vast majority of (and often most entertaining) content is user-generated.—MP
It doesn’t matter where you live. If you’ve got something to sell or buy, need a place to live or have a place to rent, need a job or have one to offer, need a service, a community, or just want to meet people (even, uh, casually), then there’s only one stop. The site that put classified ads on notice: Craigslist.—Eric Griffith
IMDB settles the ancient arguments of who starred in what film and what the name of that actor is. You know, that guy. It’s the Internet’s most comprehensive database with one goal in mind: to list every fact it can about the cast and crew of every TV show and movie ever made.—EG
This online learning site is all about teaching you real-world knowledge using videos and other interactive modules. Topics range from test prep to microeconomics to modern art. It’s a perfect example of content created by experts conquering all. What’s really amazing is that the impressive educational site is free and open to anyone.—Jill Duffy
• Read PCMag’s Khan Academy review.
You’ve got questions, Quora (and it’s half a million users) has answers. The goal of the site, founded by former Facebook staff, is to build a source of knowledge, a veritable trove of research already performed. It works because the people answering questions tend to be high-profile experts in their fields, or at least very knowledgeable amateurs.—EG
• Read PCMag’s Quora review.
For the love of all the Chupacabras in the world, please, trust nothing on the Internet, especially if it’s circulated in email. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is, and that usually means you can look it up at Snopes to be sure. It has the best rundown of urban legends and online scams you will ever find; I’d bet all the money that Nigerian prince owes me on it.—EG
TED: Ideas Worth Spreading
The annual Technology Entertainment and Design (TED) conferences are amazing gatherings that feature speakers with inspiring tales and incredible knowledge. Lucky for us, all of those talks are 18 minutes or less and captured on video for anyone to see later. There are over 1,400 available to watch right now, so get started.—EG
Expedia’s TripAdvisor was a social network for travel before that was a thing, using user reviews to create a master database of the best places to stay around the world. It offers up info on hotels, restaurants, vacation rentals, and even flights and things to do, and its Best Of lists are not to be missed if you’re a frequent flyer to exotic locales.—EG
Look up Wikipedia on Wikipedia and you’ll learn that the user-edited encyclopedia with the sometimes-questionable reputation has 29 million articles (with 4.12 million in English; it’s available in 285 languages) written by volunteers the world over. Any one of us can edit them; you don’t have to be an expert, you just need to know. It’s run on the honor system and, for the most part, that works.—EG
Even hearing the term BBC brings a British accent to your ear and makes the news sound so much more… cultured. Even if that’s not the case, you can’t fault the Beeb’s coverage of the world handled in that perfectly upper-crust and trustworthy way that U.S. news can only dream of emulating.—Eric Griffith
CNN.com has the best of both worlds—news segments and timely articles—concerning the whole world. An interactive community allows members to comment on stories and blogs, submit and comment on iReport assignments, and receive breaking news email alerts while NewsPulse filters the most relevant news in an easy-to-read way.—Meredith Popolo
You can stay on top of what your legislators in the House of Representatives and the Senate are doing online. Legistalker gathers all the status updates made by the congressmen and congresswomen on social networks and gives you a constant feed to see where they stand (or don’t) on the issues. Search for a zip code, state, or name to find a member. The site also lists websites, email addresses, and phone number for members of Congress.—EG
The New York Times
The website of record, the NYTimes.com covers all the news that’s fit to code. Last year, the site began charging frequent readers; the first 10 articles each month are free, but after that it grants unlimited access only to those with a subscription.—MP
Sports Illustrated’s online home is far more than just a collection of magazine articles; it’s the highly interactive scoreboard of the Web, with more amazing photography of great games and great plays than anyone could imagine.—EG
Reading its witty analysis and commentary, you’d never guess that this online current affairs magazine is owned by the more traditional Washington Post. Readers can brush up on politics, tech news, business news, arts, sports and more with articles like “Will Sandy Bring a Baby Boom or Baby Bust?”—MP
The world’s largest e-tailer began as an online bookseller and quickly fanned out to sell everything from apps to gluten-free dog food. Tied tightly to Amazon’s services, its Kindle has dominated the ebook reader competition and its Kindle Fire earned PCMag’s Editors’ Choice.—Meredith Popolo
Need to get away? Airbnb connects travelers in search of vacation rentals and short-term accommodations with those that have space to spare—or rather, rent. Featuring housing options in more than 19,000 cities and 192 counties, users can find the right room at nearly any price, whether it’s a fold-out couch in Queens or a château in the French countryside.—MP
This snarky blog provides insight into the most pertinent consumer issues of the day. Readers and editors alike come together on The Consumerist to inform others about the new seasonal gingerbread Oreos, complain about excessive Time Warner Cable charges, and recommend free mobile apps, among other topics.—MP
Enabling crafty individuals and very very small businesses to sell their unique wares—from hand-blown glass chess sets to steampunked iPad cases, Etsy seeks to “empower people to change the way global economy works,” as stated in its mission. The strong community of buyers and sellers builds personal relationships and easily lends to the discovery of “just the right thing.”—MP
Kickstarter is the leader in facilitating “crowdfunding” to launch creative projects such as software, albums, comics, even entire film shoots. As of November this year, the site has raised $348 million dollars for over 32,000 projects. Forty-four percent of projects get the full funding they desire. Invest in your favorite.—EG
That disheveled stack of dog-eared-and-soy-sauce-stained menus is now unnecessary thanks to MenuPages. The site catalogs menus and helpful reviews for thousands of restaurants in a growing number of cities. Visitors can search for a specific restaurant, or narrow down choices by cuisine and neighborhood.—MP
Diners can snag savings at local non-chain joints through Restaurant.com, whose coupons usually slash about $25 off the bill. It’s like coupon clipping for restaurants. Be sure to read the fine print, though, as restrictions often include a minimum purchase and exclude certain dining times and the purchase of alcohol, among other things.—MP
A true geek has bookmarked online store ThinkGeek and has likely purchased almost an entire wardrobe from here. From bubble gum smartphone stands and LEGO flash drives to the latest official Doctor Who merchandise, the digital dweebs can spend hours perusing pages of cheeky, geeky products.—MP
Geeks can wear their techie pride on their sleeves, or chest, with one of the hundreds of tees found at Threadless. Don’t dig any of the designs? Submit one. Members of the community vote on the submissions and each week a new winner gets his or her shirt printed up and sold on the site. (There’s even some cash in the deal.)—MP
Whether you’re looking to challenge your tastebuds by trying Turkish cuisine or hoping to impress a date at a romantic Italian restaurant, the user reviews on Yelp will divulge the good, the bad, and the unsanitary of almost any restaurant, club, or store. Not to mention, reading the angry reviews left by unsatisfied patrons is oddly amusing.—MP
Love it or hate it, almost everyone is on this social network. Facebook is so big that, like AOL in its heyday, some might consider it synonymous with the Internet. Where it excels, of course, is in bringing friends and family together for sharing, well, just about everything. It’s almost impossible to leave, not just because Facebook won’t let you go, but because being a member can be strangely addictive.—Eric Griffith
• Read PCMag’s Facebook review.
The original check-in spot is more than just a website, but an entire ecosystem of mobile apps for (optionally) announcing your current location. The more people you follow, the more you’ll learn about other places to visit in your city. At a new restaurant? The Tips section will let you know that the chickpea fries are a must-order. Plus, you can compete with others to earn points and finally become the mayor your favorite coffee shop, and even score sweet deals.—EG
One of few websites to ever get a PCMag rating of five stars, LinkedIn is a favorite for bringing together professionals. The site should be your key point in keeping work relationships in top shape—the old style of networking. Remember to check in next time you need to hobnob to find a new job.—EG
• Read PCMag’s LinkedIn review.
This past August, Pinterest opened its doors to everyone, after previously operating in invitation-only open beta, and quickly became a leading source of referral traffic on the Web. The social photo-sharing website lets users “pin” images to virtual vision boards. Using the “Pin It” button, users can tag photos from anywhere on the Web to different categories like Home Décor, Technology, Architecture, DIY & Crafts, and Men’s Apparel. It’s the virtual equivalent of dog-earing a page in a magazine, but makes the data much simpler to organize and retrieve. Pinterest also recently created secret boards so that pinner can keep their collections quiet.—Meredith Popolo
• Read PCMag’s Pinterest review.
Twitter used to be called a microblogging service, but it’s really become uncategorizable. A platform for 140-character text posts (“tweets”), Twitter is for getting the word out, quickly and easily, to large groups of followers, the likes of which no blog could probably muster. Three hundred million people use it, making the chance of you getting a big audience even better.—EG
• Read PCMag’s Twitter review.
Are you wondering where all the original editors of Engadget went after they left? (We assume you missed the announcement on Jimmy Fallon’s show.) The Verge is their home. With the usual coverage of gadgets, the site also includes big features, podcasts, and the recently launched “On The Verge” video show.—Eric Griffith
The long-running Ars Technica stays on this list year after year because, while it’s insider-y and more even more techie than some sites, its how-to guides, commentary, and in-depth reports can’t be beat.—EG
The breaking news of the gadget world seems to find its way to BGR (short for Boy Genius Report) with regularity, meaning it should be your first stop for scoops about what’s happening in mobile and consumer tech toys.—EG
Want free software to download? FileHippo.com’s collection, clearly laid out on its home page, is the best of the best. It makes sure to keep things so up-to-date that it’s likely to have updates before you know about them. The Update Checker app it provides Windows users will help you find out what software you have that needs a new version.—EG
Tumultous times at Engadget after it was absorbed into AOL have done little to stem the tide of stories it produces about the gadget-osphere, be it opinion, rumor, or hands-on reviews. The site’s army of writers stays on top of the trends and the weekly Engadget Podcast and Webby-winning monthly Engadget Show continue to entertain and inform. (Nice job, @bheater.)—EG
Gdgt promises its reviews are from “people who actually have your product.” Sad that anyone has to make that claim (for the record, PCMag Labs would say the same!), but here the goal is for you to say what you own or want and then get sent the reviews. Users chime in so you can see who has it, who wants it, and who had it, and then read all of the individual capsule reviews by users, so you get that social aspect. You can ask questions and get answers from the community, or join the general discussions to air your complaints.—EG
If you’re constantly looking for better, more efficient ways to get stuff done, Lifehacker can be entertaining and informative. It offers both the practical (like using plastic wrap to protect your furniture when painting in close quarters) to the “dang, that’s cool” (like turning your old keyboard keys into fridge magnets). With both analog and digital tips, this site will hold appear for even the biggest Luddite.—Laarni Almendrala Ragaza
Wondering what’s new and cutting-edge in social networking and digital culture in general? It doesn’t matter if it’s the tech, the business, or even the entertainment aspects, Mashable has it covered. Sign up for Mashable Follow to get a custom experience, where you only read what you actually care about.—EG
If you want to know the latest news about technology—and we mean the latest—visit or subscribe to Techmeme. Its algorithm for finding the current trends is second to none, as it scrapes and aggregates the news from across the Web to display what’s most important right now in the digital world.—EG
Here, technology rendezvous with pop culture to create fascinating content that is both from the print magazine and Web-exclusive.—Meredith Popolo
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