What’s the difference between a browser based cloud application and the others?

There are a lot of so called ‘cloud’ offerings and they broadly fit into one of two categories: Browser and non Browser based applications.

A browser based application is an application that was written to run over the internet in a web browser such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Safari etc. For example; most banks offer internet banking in this way, there are also applications such as Google Docs, Google Sheets and accounting applications such as Exact Online. These applications run in any browser regardless of whether the browser is on your pc, Mac, laptop, tablet or phone – all they need is a web browser and an internet connection.

A non-browser based application is a 'traditional' software application written to run single user or over a local area network. Examples include: Sage 50 Accounts, Microsoft Word, Excel along many other database applications. In other words, they were originally written, probably some time ago, specifically to run on personal computers and local area networks.

The problem for many of the traditional software companies is that to create a true web browser application would mean starting from scratch and designing a new solution; very expensive and time consuming. An alternative is to host the application on a cloud server and give others access to it – so they can now say they have a ‘cloud solution’.