11 good Chrome web apps for the Chromebook

11 good Chrome web apps for the Chromebook

Summary: My recent purchase of a Chromebook led me to investigate Chrome web apps. I was surprised to find many good apps for Chrome, and have already come to depend on these 11 while working on my Chromebook. A bonus tip for Chromebook owners has been included at no charge.

TOPICS: Mobility, Google, Laptops

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  • Pandora

    I love streaming audio from the Pandora service, and this app puts a decent interface in Chrome. I run it in a window and minimize it while working.


  • Bonus Chromebook Tip

    The Chrome OS has a full suite of keyboard shortcuts, so many it is impossible to remember them all.

    Here's a great tip for Chromebook owners: Hit CTRL-ALT-? and an onscreen representation of the keyboard appears.

    Hold down the CTRL, ALT, SHIFT key to see what each key invokes when it is pressed.

Topics: Mobility, Google, Laptops

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  • Chrome on windows

    I noticed that some web apps from the Chrome store will not run in Chrome on Linux. Especially games with good graphics can be problematic. Often it requires some component present only on windows and in some cases, OS X or Windows. How often do you find apps that only works in Chrome on Windows? IE-tab app only works in windows right?
  • And so it begins, again

    The marginalization of the GNU/Linux desktop with web-based apps. The lack of popular desktop apps on the GNU/Linux desktop (e.g., Microsoft Office, Adobe Photosho, Apple iTunes) is a significant factor in the GNU/Linux desktop's small market share of 1-2%.

    Just doing a search of some web sites awhile ago, I noticed that Intuit's web-based apps are supported for Windows and OS X, but not for the GNU/Linux desktop. On an Intuit support thread regarding mint.com (if I remember correctly), an Intuit employee stated that some very limited web site testing was done with Ubuntu, but that Intuit did not "officially" support the GNU/Linux desktop.

    So much for web-based apps equalizing the playing field amongst Windows, OS X, GNU/Linux and BSD.

    P.S. I would report the offending Chrome OS apps to Google. Perhaps, given that Google is an enterprise user of the Ubuntu desktop, they might do a bit more testing prior to allowing a web-based app in their Chrome OS app store to insure that apps are platform agnostic. If not, then Google should provide information on each app in the Chrome OS app store informing users of the OSs that the apps are supported on.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Yawn

      Were you trying to make a point other than reinforcing the well established fact that you are a shill?
      • Thanks for the comment (below) as it applies to your own comment here

        "An awful lot of facts and concepts are "beyond" you.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Compatibility

      Agreed, Google could do a better job on compatibility, as there are extensions that run on Chrome OS but not other platforms, and vice versa, but often there is no way to tell except trial and error. On Play.google.com, if I click on an app, I see a notice: "This app is compatible with your Nexus 7". It wouldn't be that difficult to do an OS check and display an appropriate message, but I suspect that in some cases Google doesn't know, as the Chrome store isn't curated like the Apple store.
    • Don't work on ChromeOS either!

      It's even worse - I had the problem that I couldn't use Chrome applications on ChromeOS, because they relied on some platform specific plugin! In fact this applied to every application I tried, I guess I was unluckier than the author of this article. (Thankfully this was just Chromium on a VM rather than wasting my money on a Chromebook - I guess it's possible that that was a cause of the problems, though I don't see how, some of them specifically referred to Windows or Windows/Mac only plugins.)

      Many of the apps seem basically just shortcuts to their website for Windows or Mac only applications - the fact that I can technically run it in a web browser misses the point if I have to download a Windows or Mac specific plug in, might as well just download a binary the old fashioned way. Indeed, I think one of them really was just a website that only had a Windows-only exe!

      (Anyhow, nice to see a ZDNet article that isn't about worshipping Apple, for a change. Although a shame that this page still has to be littered with articles to Apple-astroturfing articles - how much does Apple pay ZDNet I wonder?)
  • Another paid chromebook add

    All of these chrome apps are available on windows machines and probably mac / linux for that matter. These apps are not "For the chromebook". They are for chrome browser, which is available on numerous platforms.

    This authors attempt at advertising the chromebook has instead highlighted the fact that chromebook users must rely on chrome apps, while users of mac / linux / windows can just use as they see fit.

    On the one hand, people can buy a cheaper / better equipped device and run chrome apps if they feel like it. On the other hand, chromebook users get a more expensive / less well equipped device that relies on chrome apps entirely.

    Why anyone would buy a chromebook is beyond me.
    • Clearly

      An awful lot of facts and concepts are "beyond" you.
    • you don't mind having to pay for antivirus and wait for minutes at boot

      I agree that the chromebook is more limited then a windows laptop with chrome, but then again, what if you simply want a system that works without having to fear that money will be removed from your bankaccount when you are doing internet banking via your webbrowser?
      • Chromebook (or Chromebox) for online banking

        This is an expensive way to be safe, unless one has some other uses for the device. Just be sure to verify that your bank(s), brokerage site(s), etc. support both the Chrome browser and Chrome OS (e.g., there's no Java plug-in in Chrome OS and there are some banks and brokerage sites that require it).

        Using a GNU/Linux LiveCD (or LiveDVD) is a much cheaper way to bank online safely. It's less convenient than a Chromebook, unless one uses a discarded PC dedicated to the task.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Why would anyone buy Windows?

      Why anyone would buy a Windows machine, unless required by their employer, is beyond me.
      • OS background

        I wish ZDnet's implementation of Disqus allowed users to edit their own comments. Re OS experience, I have used VM/MVS, CP/M, MP/M, Atari, DOS from 1983 onward, all versions of Windows (except Vista, mercifully), all versions of Mac OS since 1984, Ubuntu, Mint, and Chrome OS. For the past year, probably 90% of my computer time has been on a Chromebook, despite having multiple Macs and a Linux box available. Chrome OS does most of what I need, and requires very little care and feeding.

    Are you being paid by Google or Samsung in cash or kind for your blogs on Chrome OS?

      I write about what I use and have no conflicts of interest of any kind.
      • The real question is

        Don't you wish Google would pay you for these things?
        Michael Alan Goff
  • A Tip and 2 More Extensions

    Scratchpad is great for taking notes, but it will bog down if you move inactive documents from the Scratchpad folder to other folders on Google Drive. More than 10 Scratchpad docs will result in serious performance problems, even on faster Chromebooks like the Samsung 550.

    Two favorite extensions that I find indispensible:

    ChromeAccess: Provides quick access to many functions (such as flags) that are otherwise not so obvious. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/chromeaccess/aeoigbhkilbllfomkmmilbfochhlgdmh

    Panelize: Lets you bring up anything in a smaller pop-up window. You can pre-define the size of the window by including dimensions in the bookmark name; e.g. Gmail @840x700
  • Why buy a Chrome Book???

    Good luck with your useless device
    • Wait

      I dont think a Chromebook was made to be Win/Linux competition. Is just a new concept, that is pretty useful. I have an Acer C7, as a second computer (i doubt it can be your computer number one, telling that is being a "Google Extremist") and it work good for me. It is fast, portable and easy to use. Beside of that it was cheap, 300 dollars here in Panama.
      Hugo Vera
  • Why Buy a Chromebook?

    I have lived through all the DOS Win8 efforts over the years. Lots of change - notice I did not say improvements. In the days of dedicated machine/applications - word processor, CAD, accounting, and such, DOS was adequate. Today everyone expects a computer to do it all. Personally I feel this very unrealistic. I have multiple computers in the house for different applications. I have one for editing photo, videos, and burning DVD's and printing large photos. I have another that serves as a file server, still another that my wife uses to do accounting. Plus a Win7 LTop to travel with capable of handling many networking needs. I purchased a Chromebook with the idea of having a small unit to communicate with people, computers, and handle many of the routine needs of my day of wandering about. It does not do everything the LTop does. But I don't need all that capability in most situations. I also have a smartphone and a tablet.

    The idea of one size fits all just don't do it for me.
  • My Chromebook is awesome

    Did you ever wonder why we use Windows or Macs on the internet? Could it be that they just happened to be the terminal devices that were around? We used them before the world wide web. What if green screen terminals happened to have been around when internet started to saturate our lives? Would we be defending them against machines like the CB that are built for the internet?

    You can't argue against using a device for the internet that was specifically designed for it, while incorporating proven human interfaces like mouse, touchpad and keyboard.
    Dean Dvorak