How I Fell in Love with Google Chrome Apps

How I Fell in Love with Google Chrome AppsWhen a new browser came out, I was always right there. I was reading dev logs and peering over the new details of bug fixes and what modifications we’d see in future releases. To me, an Internet browser was the window to our digital life and, if it’s done wrong and it’s complicated to use, I can’t live. I worked my way past Internet Explorer and leapt at Opera, clamored for Firefox, and when Chrome came out and introduced me to something so simple and clean, I was in love. Absolutely.

After some slow-going roll-outs, Chrome finally introduced us to apps. Much like you could get on your phone, Chrome apps were a way that we could take the applications we loved on our phones and put them on our second most-used interface: Our Internet browser. This gave us a wealth of possibilities and none of these slid past me for even a second as I was right there to absorb all of the productivity enhancers and possible time drains that Google Chrome had to offer me.

Over the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of scaling back and tweaking my experience to be one of customized heaven. What’s wonderful about the app selection in Google Chrome is that it doesn’t want you to take anything you don’t want. The app screen for your Chrome browser isn’t meant to fit a ton of items on one page and clutter up your screen if you don’t want it that way, you know? It just says: “Take what you want until you’re happy, but know you can always go back.” And I needed to see that. I remember when I got my first iPod touch and I knew I could download apps there — I went insane. I needed everything on there and, with a hard drive like you have on a computer, that can get kind of crazy. Nobody wants to see half of a terabyte devoted to silly apps, do they? No, they don’t.

What kind of apps did I choose? Why, I’m glad you asked! Among my favorites, I chose the ones I use on a nearly daily basis — and repeatedly. Check them out for yourself:

TweetDeck

Most of you who use Twitter are already familiar with TweetDeck and how spot-on it has always been for us desktop users. Sure, it has its home on mobile devices, but I always loved it here on my PC. As soon as I pop my browser on, this button is right here and waiting to be clicked.

Dropbox

I was a bit late in the game when it came to understanding cloud storage and became a full on supporter once I mastered the Amazon cloud storage and its possibilities. Dropbox offers just what I need plus an easy way to invite people to share the files I put there. You might be thinking: “But Google Docs?” And, no, until Google Drive is ready to go — bug free — I’ll be safe here at Dropbox with my several gigs of cloud storage at the touch of a finger.

PicMonkey

Now I’m well-versed in Photoshop and have been for years, but what about those quick shots you don’t want to have to edit in Photoshop? Maybe they’re just quick snaps of your breakfast or a new gadget? Not worth the trouble? Well, PicMonkey knew I would love it for simplifying color correction, minor editing, and sophisticated filters put into button format. It’s easy to use and it tends to even come in as a finishing stroke after I edit in Photoshop now. I absolutely love it.

Do It (Tomorrow)

This little program is my lifesaver in a world filled with Google Calenders, BaseCamps, and complicated scheduling utilities. I don’t need them because my life is already pretty streamlined and I like it that way. It’s like giving someone a Maybach to drive to the grocery store around the corner, you know? This is where Do It (Tomorrow) eases in and says “Look, you just need to remember what to do tomorrow. That’s it. Don’t go crazy.” and leaves you with it! Simple format, absolutely free, and has one of the sweetest little journals inside with handwritten fonts, coffee stains, and page-turning sounds. I love it. It loves me. End of story.

How I Fell in Love with Google Chrome Apps

Mibbit IRC

Once in a while, I frequent some modification and emulation chatrooms that revolve around imported video games from the ’80s and ’90s and, when I go there, I need a quick shot into those rooms. Mibbit grabs that IRC link and turns your browser into a streamlined IRC chat client in the blink of an eye. Merely slap your nickname into the window and you’re off and running, regaling in stories about when the Sega Master System was the beginning of an amazing era of gaming.

WordPress

True, it’s really easy to just go ahead and type in your blog’s name and access the WP-Admin login system, but this little app knows you’re busy. It knows you’re obviously using WordPress for something personal and close to your chest and it gives you the ability to log in and get it all out. It’s simple, quiet, and without distractions of sidebars and craziness. Sure, I don’t really use it for work, but for my personal blog, it’s perfectly suited there on my app bar.

Pixlr Editor

Remember up there when I was going on and on about Photoshop and PicMonkey? Well, Pixlr Editor is in between those two worlds. Yes, when you edit as many photos as I do, you need a few middle men in the mix. Pixlr Editor is when I’m not quite finding what I want with PicMonkey but I’m on the go. It’s as sophisticated as one can imagine for being absolutely free and gives me the right amount of quick-fire detailing that I need to get to before getting into my Adobe mindset. If I’m going to boot up Photoshop, I know I’ll be there for days working and tweaking. Pixlr is a beautiful little app that cuts those processes down dramatically.

How I Fell in Love with Google Chrome Apps

These programs are ones I use to keep my sanity at a reasonable level and you’ll notice that none of these have anything to do with the rich, casual gaming environment that Google Chrome has ventured into with its apps. You’re right. Why? Because I choose to do my gaming on a console or through Steam. I use Google Chrome to stay as productive as I can and leave the gaming for outside browser windows.

I’m curious what apps you use and if you find yourself drifting towards productivity or casual entertainment. Show off what you use and if you think (or don’t think) that including apps in browsers is far better than just simple extensions and add-ons. Our phones are like small computers in our hands that offer applications on-the-go, and Google actually gives us the opportunity to use those same tools on our computers. Excited? Elated? You know I am.

Article Written by

Mouthy with a broad vocabulary and a large imagination, I come in from a rather lengthy (7+ years) stay in video game journalism. While tech, gamer and geek culture has always been my strength, I tend to be right at home with whatever topic is thrown my way. I'm a mother, a multi-tasker and a maverick. ♥

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrdnv Jordan Vasquez

    I don’t use many of the apps only because they are merely links to the website. Though some, like Tweetdeck, are superb! Use it all the time on my laptop.

  • gbyers72

    meh Desktops apps are still more sophisicated than some webapp….

    • Alex Murphy

      Depends on the use case.

      • gbyers72

        web apps are not quite there some of them look like a collection of links with a background :P

  • Martin ellis

    I use Google drive all the time, and haven’t had any bug issues. Is it buggy for most people? I just downloaded a couple apps on Google canary. I am definitely going to download some of these apps on there. :) nice article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dspector32 David Spector

    I have been a user of Safari and Firefox for quite a long time. I was resistant to Chrome at first but is has been growing on me. I will install some of the apps that you suggested and see if I want to leave Firefox.

  • Matthew Cheung

    Before I switched to using Google Chrome as my default browser, I was a huge Firefox user as I used it across all of my devices. One of the only reasons I used Firefox was because I needed an alternative to Internet Explorer and I liked how it synced my bookmarks across all of my devices. I decided to switch to Google Chrome as it had all/more features than Firefox and I was also starting to get bored of the stale UI on Firefox. One thing I really like about Google Chrome from the beginning when I used it were the Apps. I use them very often such as like Gmail, Google+, Youtube, MailChimp, Evernote, Dropbox, and Google Drive. I also love the simple and user friendly interface and layout when compared to Firefox.

  • http://www.facebook.com/beshoy.lovesjesus Beshoy Shafek Malk

    They could be a great value if they add them exclusivly to the chrome os, which i dont know if they did add to them, i dont have a chromebook

  • Ben Rupert

    This is great thank you so much for doing this I have toyed with Chrome apps in the past but I have never really been able to tell what I might want. At least I now I have some recommendations.

    • http://www.facebook.com/thisisnotcandice Candice Cassandra

      I’m so glad you took something from this! Yay!

  • Curtis Coburn

    I love chrome apps too. It’s a fast and very simple way to get what you want. I love that when I open a new tab, my most used apps are there. Twitter, Youtube. I went searching one day in the chrome store, and I found some really good games. Like Plants vs Zombies, which is a game that I love to play on Chrome.
    Cut the rope was a good game too.

    Bastion is another great game to play on Chrome. I loved this game. It’s a narrative game, that’s very fun to play.

    • http://www.facebook.com/thisisnotcandice Candice Cassandra

      Absolutely love Bastion but I have it on Steam! Haha. I choose to stick those on my gaming platforms. SUCH a good game!

  • http://twitter.com/uthmanbaksh Uthman Baksh

    I love the Chrome apps. They mostly provide links to sites like Youtube, Facebook, and Netflix But they also are apps that do things like photo editing and such. Plus there are a few great games that are not Angry Birds!

  • Jesse Aranda

    Personally I don’t use them that much outside of Dropbox. Then again, my iPhone only has about 5 apps that aren’t stock and I never let my browser save passwords and close and open my browser quite often. So I don’t think browser apps aren’t for me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/thisisnotcandice Candice Cassandra

      Fair enough! There’s always something that others might not jump onto! Interesting though that you do like cloud storage though!

  • http://bkgcom.blogspot.in/ Bharat Kumar Gupta

    Wow the list of apps u mentioned here are def worth to look at and i would point out that i rely heavily on so many chrome extensions across multiple devices that its impossible to go without, i also remember days of “ugly toolbars” n extensions that not a lot of people used during the firefox & internet explorer days, actually it all depends on solid foundation of the program and how well its written, chrome today is on all devices and not many but some apps that i tried work quite seamless across ipad, desktop n smartphone, i really like the pic monkey app, pixlr editor & Do It(Tomorrow), again a big fan of chrome n apps that i can use anywhere, this is clearly the future!

    • http://www.facebook.com/thisisnotcandice Candice Cassandra

      YEAH! It totally is! I’m so glad you’re going to take a look at them! Let me know what you think!

      • http://bkgcom.blogspot.in/ Bharat Kumar Gupta

        Hey have you tried casual designing apps from Aviary? i think they got promise though they are really sluggish, they have close to perfect illustrator, image editing etc apps, and couple of apps like homestyler etc really useful, yeah i use tweetdeck it works fine, checked some apps since your post, i feel this platform is “getting there” not there yet!

  • @anonymoustechno

    Great material!

  • Cworld01

    I know some of google apps like tweet deck, wordpress, google drive, drop box, chrome web store and Gmail. I just checked Pixlr editor it is way better than Picnik. Thank You LG (Locker Gnome).

    • http://www.facebook.com/thisisnotcandice Candice Cassandra

      You’re welcome! Enjoy!

  • http://twitter.com/GodfatherScooby GodfatherScooby

    I pretty much only use adblock on chrome but i’ll check out those mentioned here to see how they are

    • http://www.facebook.com/thisisnotcandice Candice Cassandra

      Let me know if you like ‘em!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gregory.alexander.568 Gregory Alexander

    Ok this was a worth waiting for article, Thanks Candice.
    I find myself spending more time enhancing, editing, and touching up photos these days than doing what I love and that is 3D Animation & Modeling. No matter how hard I work at social gatherings to avoid mentioning photoshop or retouching, my wife will bring someone over and introduce me as the goto guy for restoring thier old polaroid shots. I love her dearly, but I sometimes find myself dreading having to fire up Photoshop and just want to do a quick color fade or mask and call it done.
    Thanks for the tips.