Chromebooks offer a unique experience; you can surf the web, install Android apps and even Linux apps in selected Chromebooks. While there is no shortage of Chromebook extensions and Android apps for Chromebook, in this article, I’ll focus on the best Chrome Apps you can use on your Chromebook. Let’s begin.
What are Chrome Apps?
Unlike Chrome extensions, Chrome apps are more feature-rich, have a seprate interface, and offer more features than say an extension that complements a webpage in the browser. Chrome apps have been phased out from every other platform except for Chromebooks.
Best Chrome Apps for Chromebook
If you use Google Docs regularly, you’d know that it doesn’t work without the Internet and you can’t save the work until the connection resumes. Enter Docs, a simple Chrome app, which lets you use all the features without the internet and sync all the work when the internet comes back on.
Related: Best Google Chrome Upcoming features
Writer is a distraction-free writing app that gives you a clean, minimal interface to jot down your thoughts. It has no toolbar, no options, and just a cursor on a plain surface. Simply, open the app and start writing, all the documents are saved locally which you can access in the hamburger menu. You can customize the interface to your liking by adjusting the fonts, text size, margins, and typing sounds.
Instead of using a web-based code editor, Text offers all those features in a minimal and offline interface. Open an existing file or creating a new one from scratch, everything looks neat on this app. You can also change the settings and adjust the font size, assign tabs to space bar, adjust tab size, show/hide line numbers, implement smart indentation, etc. Not to mention, obligatory dark theme.
Out of all the Notes app I tried on the Chromebook, nothing fits quite right as the Google Keep Notes. There are a few reasons which make it special; it immediately syncs on all my devices including smartphones, computers, and even smartwatches. The material interface makes it look modern, elegant, and smart. You can take notes by typing or drawing, add collaborators, import images, and set reminders within this app. Did I mention it also has a dark mode?!
Get Keep Notes
Pocket is a well-known read-it-later service that allows you to keep everything stored in one place. It can be linked-to articles, videos, blogs, vlogs, images, etc. Just copy and paste the link into the app and you’re done. Upon later revisiting, you’ll find your links neatly organized and stripped off of any excess junk (read ads).
Pomello is a Pomodoro timer made specifically to be used with Trello. If you keep your tasks and projects in Trello, it would be a good practice to optimize those tasks using the Pomodoro technique. Setting up everything is easy, login to Pomello, connect your Trello account and select a list from the board. The main dashboard stays hidden and you only interact with a small strip that shows the timer, select a task and get to work. Simple and efficient.
7. All in One Messenger
All in One neatly club all the popular messaging apps in a single window. It supports more than 30 different apps including Discord, Skype, Steam Chat, Crisp, and Yahoo Messenger and of course WhatsApp and Slack. The best part, you can customize or mute specific messengers so that you don’t get distracted at work. Neat.
Polarr is a well-built app for the Chrome OS. The interface works for both touch-enabled and standard Chromebooks which makes it suitable for a wide range of devices. You can crop, rotate, flip images with a tap of a button. Adjusting lighting, saturation, color temperature is as easy as sliding a bar and you’ll see the changes in real-time. Exporting photos from the app is extremely easy and you get to choose a variety of options such as format, size, watermarks, meta-data, etc. The app also has some pro features like overlays, flares, gradients, etc which come bundled with a subscription fee of $2.49/mo.
Editing photos on the go is one thing but if you want to get more professional and edit Vector images on the go the check Vectr out. Designed for Chromebook, it has features like snapping, grids, pages, and support for layers that let you adjust every aspect of an SVG file. You get basic tools like an ellipse, pen, pencil, text, and a few pre-installed shapes. After you’re done with the modifications, you can export the project in SVG, PNG, or JPG file formats. Vectr is free and ad-supported.
Sketchpad is a drawing app for Chromebook its multiple brushes such as crayons, paintbrush, pencil, spraypaint, etc. Along with these you also get a stamp tool, a full-color wheel, and an option to configure each tool. I make it seem like this app is intended for kids but it is very resourceful, you can create some serious artwork with it. You can save your projects as PNG, JPG, webP, and PDFs or export directly to Facebook, Drive, Gmail, or Imgur. The app is absolutely free.
Tellyprompt converts your Chromebook into a simple teleprompter where you can put the book next to the camera and start speaking. Just copy-paste the text in the app and start the presentation. You can also adjust the speed anytime during the presentation and scroll forwards and backward with the mouse scroll.
12. VNC Viewer
VNC Viewer lets you log in to your primary computers or servers using the Chromebook anywhere in the world. The connections are secured 256bit AES encryption so that you can safely access confidential information. You just need to install the service on every machine you want to access except android and iOS devices and you’ll be able to access and control every aspect of the machine. It is a great tool for remotely monitoring servers, office computers, and in some cases, a Raspberry Pi. It is free for personal and non-commercial use.
Get VNC Viewer
13. HTML 5 Editor
Get HTML 5 Editor
2FA keeps you safer and it’s a good practice to use it everywhere. Authy offers a seamless solution where you can just create your account, connect all the apps that support Authy and leave the rest to the app. Simple, right?
15. Audio Recorder
Most Chromebooks don’t ship with a built-in audio recorder which begs the question which is the best one? The answer may surprise you, the first one in the search results. Most Audio recorders work fine unless you want a very specific set of features. Take This app as an example, it is a simple app that just has a record button and a save button. You tap the record button and start recording. After you’re done, tap the save button to save the file in the downloads folder.
Get Audio Editor
Best Chrome Apps for Chromebook
These were some of the best Chrome apps that every power user should have. I tried to include a variety of apps ranging from writing to code editing. Writer is great for writing distraction-free and HTML 5 Editor is there to eliminate all the bugs. Polarr is a free photo editing tool which acts as a replacement to Windows applications. Except for a few things you can pretty much do all the things you’d do on a standard computer. What do you think, did I miss any app, let me know in the comments below?