Stuff Gadget Awards 2014: Slack is the Web and Cloud Service of the Year

This smart chat app puts an end to e-mail and the tyranny of the inbox
Slack is the best web and cloud service of the year

At Stuff, we have our head in the clouds.

New cloud services and web apps are springing up on a daily basis, helping us to stream our music and films without having to lug around clunky physical media, and giving us new ways to commmunicate with each other.

We've rounded up six of the best; taking in new services and recently-updated apps. But there can be only one winner...

READ MORE: Stuff Gadget Awards winners announced: These are the 22 best gadgets of the year

Winner: Slack

The six best web and cloud services of the year

Email is so ancient your inbox is probably haunted: spooked by the ghosts of forgotten attachments and typos you only notice as you hit ‘send’. So isn’t it time we found something new? Well Stuff found Slack – a hybrid of email and IM – and we really rather like it. Set up a team, add your friends or colleagues and you’ve got your own online forum – one with its own cloud storage for uploading files for other users to access, plus it plays nicely with Dropbox, IFTTT and Google+ Hangouts. We never want to send another email again.

Runner-up: Spotify

The six best web and cloud services of the year

We've never seen eye-to-eye with Taylor Swift. She likes to shake it off, we like to shake it all about. She hates Spotify. We can't remember life without it. In 2014 our devotion has been rewarded with family sharing, ad supported streaming for iOS and Android and djay 2 mixing for Premium users. Best of all, though, is Spotify Connect which makes it available on lots more devices, sounding better than ever.

READ MORE: The best new albums on Spotify so far this year

Runner-up: Netflix

The six best web and cloud services of the year

This year has seen Netflix streaming TV shows in 4K, landing on YouView and even funding its first original movie, the sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It's been the perfect subscription to complete this year's Chromecast powered, lounge love-in and with original series including history fest Marco Polo and thriller Bloodline coming soon, there's no reason to think 2015 will be any different.

READ MORE: The 30 best things to watch on Netflix right now

Runner-up: Ourscreen

The six best web and cloud services of the year

Want to see The Big Lebowski on the big screen at three in the afternoon? Now you can, providing you're not the only fan of the Dude in your town. Ourscreen lets movie fiends set up and schedule screenings at 18 independent cinemas by meeting Groupon-style thresholds for ticket sales. It's off to a cracking start with everything from people powered premieres to Pulp Fiction parties organised using the idiot proof service.

READ MORE: Cinema fan? This genius website lets you control what's showing

Runner-up: Now TV

The six best web and cloud services of the year

There's no better way to convince you to give Now TV's £9 a month movie streaming service a go than simply direct you to the impressively curated list of 800 titles in its catalogue. With everything from Ghostbusters to Gravity, it perfectly complements Netflix boxsets and Sky Sports is available as a separate £10 package if you're more into headers than homages. Get it on Sky's own £10 puck, the PS4 and Chromecast. 

READ MORE: The 20 best movies to watch on Now TV right now

Runner-up: Qobuz

The six best web and cloud services of the year

Down with MP3s? With a music catalogue that has grown to 17m strong and 16-bit, 44.1kHz FLAC quality streams that it dubs Qobuz Hi-Fi, you won't get better sounding streaming anywhere else. Sure, Qobuz now has competition from Tidal but with 24-bit downloads, apps for iOS, Android and Windows 8 plus Sonos compatibility this is the best use of £20 a month for true audiophiles.

READ MORE: Qobuz review

READ MORE: Stuff Gadget Awards winners announced: These are the 22 best gadgets of the year