20 of the best Chrome OS apps
Google uses a rather woolly definition of the word “app”: many of the so-called applications that you’ll find in the Chrome Web Store are nothing more than bookmarks to websites that you can use from pretty much any internet browser.
That noted, here are 20 “apps” that make Chrome OS better. All these applications also work on the Chrome desktop browser for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Write Space introduces a darkroom concept to the Chrome browser, creating a blank canvas for distraction-free writing. It isn’t tied to the cloud, and instead autosaves locally. Write Space is also self-contained, meaning that you can carry on working without an internet connection – a significant benefit over Google Docs, until Google introduces offline support.
Turn Off the Lights
This application has only one function, but performs it flawlessly. Visit any webpage sporting embedded video, click the associated lightbulb icon in the address bar and the screen will dim, focusing your attention on the video. Options to customise this application are understandably limited, but users can alter opacity settings, assign a hotkey, and introduce special effects to the process.
Presented in a clean and attractive format, Feedly is a magazine-style RSS news aggregator. It ties into Google Reader, allows feeds to be separated into categories, and offers a wealth of social-networking integration for easy sharing. There’s a mini-toolbar, too, that sits in the right-hand corner of the screen and allows you to quickly add a website into your newsfeed.
Aviary Image Editor
A free, cloud-based image editor, Aviary sports enough features to give lightweight desktop alternatives a run for their money. It looks similar to Photoshop, which introduces a subtle learning curve, and performance is more than acceptable for basic edits on photos for blogs and so on, provided that the original file size isn’t too large (it struggles with anything above 5MB). Aviary is part of a comprehensive editing package, with audio and visual effects editors also available through the browser.
The popular online password manager is also available for Chrome OS, providing a secure hub for all your login details. The user interface is visually bland, yet it’s effortless to navigate and practically bursting with functionality. LastPass can also auto-complete forms on your behalf, which is a notable time-saver when filling out web registration forms.