When 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.