cybernet awards 2008-1.pngFor this installment of the 2008 CyberNet Awards we are taking a look at some of the Best Application Updates & Releases made throughout the year. We have had the pleasure of using a lot of great software this year, and it’s only fair to thank the developers who have put in a lot of hard work to get it done.

Without further ado here are our favorite application updates & releases…

–5th Place: Songbird

Songbird is a project that started back in 2006, and had the hope of one day becoming a popular music player. It uses some of Mozilla’s technology as its foundation which allows users to extend the player through the use of extensions, and it wasn’t until this year that version 1.0 finally made it out the door. In 2008 they have completely changed the look of Songbird, added some important features (like smart playlists), and fixed loads of bugs. For that reason it’s also becoming a more viable alternative for playing music each and every day.

–4th Place: Digsby

Digsby has been out for just over a year via invitation-only, but in March 2008 they unleashed their free instant messenger to the public. Ever since then I’ve found myself using it as my primary choice for a cross-platform messenger that can connect to virtually any network you want. There were a lot of complaints regarding performance early on, but they’ve pretty much got all of that fixed by now.

–3rd Place: iPhone 2.0

In July 2008 iPhone owners like myself were happy to see Apple finally open their doors to third-party development of applications. Developers are still restricted to what they can and can’t do on the phone, but that hasn’t stopped over 10,000 apps from being released in the App Store.

–2nd Place: OpenOffice 3.0

Nearly 3-years had passed between milestones, but in the end it was worth it. Version 3.0 brought a slew of new features including native Mac compatibility, Office 2007 document support, and chart enhancements.

–1st Place: Chrome

I don’t think anyone knew for sure that Google was working on a browser, but they surprised a lot of people with a quality browser just a few months ago. It’s lean, fast, and has all of the right features most people expect from their primary browser. More importantly, however, might be the fact that Google is shedding a little more light on the Webkit rendering engine. That means other Webkit-enabled browsers (Safari, iPhone, Android, etc…) are destined to have better site compatibility thanks to Chrome.

–Runners Up: Firefox, Picasa, and Flock–

While we outline our top 5 winners above there are a few that we also thought were worth covering. Firefox 3.0, Picasa 3.0, and Flock 2.0 all made their way into the hands of the public this year, and offered some great new features. I’m sure that many of you would argue that Firefox 3 should have made it into our top 5, but I don’t feel as though this milestone release was enough of a game changer for a lot of people.

–And Your Winners–

Now it is time for you to chime in! Let us know in the comments who earned your “Best Application Updates & Releases” award.