Productivity

The Best Chrome Apps You're Probably Not Using

The Chrome app store has seen a lot of improvements lately, but a lot of the apps that work inside Google Chrome still go under the radar. With that in mind, here are a few of our favourites you might not have seen yet.

Recently, Google has pushed for more offline apps in the Chrome Web Store. This means they operate just like an app on your computer, but they exist entirely in the Chrome browser. You can use these on a Chromebook, or any other computer you have with Chrome installed. That means they come in handy when you’re working off a rental laptop or a computer without a lot of hard drive space.

While we’re still waiting to get offline support for some apps, a number of these already work offline, so you don’t need an internet connection to use them. The best part? In some cases, they can actually replace space-consuming desktop software for when you’re working on the go.

The Google Suite of Apps

If you’re using Chrome, you already have the Google Drive app installed, but the rest of Google’s apps don’t come pre-packed into Chrome. The nice thing about all of Google’s apps is that they all work offline. So, if you use an app like Google Calendar, Gmail Offline or Google Keep, you can access all your data offline in the exact same way as you would online.

Another favourite from the Google suite is the Chrome Remote Desktop, which is a simple way to remotely access and control other computers. The fact is, if you use any of Google’s services, their apps are well made and worth checking out.

Write Code with Codenvy IDE

Codenvy IDE is a surprisingly robust collaborative development environment. With it, you can code in HTML, Javascript, Java, Groovy, Ruby, PHP and Python with a team of people. From there, you can even migrate everything straight to services, including Heroku and Google App Engine.

You’ll find quite a few development tools in the Chrome Web Store, including CoffeeScript IDE, Application Craft and the offline-compatible ShiftEdit, but what makes Codenvy IDE interesting is the collaborative features. Either way, you have a lot of solid options for coding right inside of Chrome.

Edit Audio with TwistedWave

TwistedWave is essentially trying to be Audacity for Chrome. It doesn’t quite get there, but as a free (you’ll need to sign up for a free account to get more than 30 seconds of editing) audio editing tool that exists solely in your browser, TwistedWave gets the job done. You can easily edit audio files, cut them down, apply effects and save everything to either Google Drive or SoundCloud. If you just need simple editing, Audio Cutter is a great way to trim clips and edit fades.

If you’d rather actually make music, both Audiotool and AudioSauna are both great mobile workstations.

Tomatoes Keeps You Productive with the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique of productivity is one of our favourites. All it requires is that you work in solid 25-minutes block and track your working time. You can do this right in Chrome with Tomatoes, an app that not only tracks what you’re up to, but also has a leaderboard to compete on.

If leaderboards aren’t your thing, Timeout and Pomodoro.me are solid alternatives.

Get a Minimalist Writing Experience with Write Space

You won’t find a shortage of minimalist writing apps on the desktop that cut out distraction so you can write, so it’s no surprise that Write Space exists in Chrome. Write Space is simple, but you can customise the look of it, what you see, and it has a Google Docs-like persistent auto-save. It also works offline, so you don’t need an internet connection to use it. If you’re sick of menus and bloated writing apps, Write Space exists in your browser and doesn’t get in the way.

For a similar experience with a typewriter aesthetic, check out Writer or the Dropbox-syncing WriteBox.

Edit Video with WeVideo

You’re not going to find a video editor of the calibre of Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere inside of Google Chrome, but WeVideo is an editor that should get you through most novice needs. With WeVideo you can do a bunch of basic editing tricks, including trimming videos, splitting clips, and add a handful of effects. If you just need to make a quick compilation of your holiday videos on your laptop, or you’re not that concerned with power, WeVideo does the job.

Edit Photos with Pixlr Editor

Chrome has a lot of different photo editors, but we like Pixlr Editor the most. With it, you can do basic colour correction and editing, as well as use a bunch of popular filters like HDR, tilt-shift and vignette. It’s not going to replace Photoshop by any means, but as a lightweight browser tool, it suits most people’s needs.

For an even simpler option, BeFunky Photo Editor is easy to use but doesn’t have a lot of features. Alternately, iPiccy does the bulk of the work for you.

Keep All Your Chats Private and Secure with CryptoCat

Sick of having all your online chats saved in a cloud server somewhere? Cryptocat is a totally private, secure and anonymous chat client. That means none of your chats records are saved, and you can communicate with friends knowing that nobody is snooping in.

If security’s not that big of a deal for you, the imo messenger is a one-stop app for all your various chat accounts, including Google Talk, AOL, Facebook and plenty of others.

Of course, we’ve only touched the surface here. A number of your favourite apps, like Dropbox, Evernote, Pocket, Spotify, Feedly, Wunderlist and plenty more have dedicated Chrome apps. It might seem a little silly to use them if you’re not on a Chromebook, but they can come in surprisingly handy on any computer you have that doesn’t have a lot of hard drive space for more full-featured apps. Of course, if you are living just inside Chrome, these apps can make the experience a lot better.