How I selected Chrome Apps to use with Chromebook

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Chrome Apps

Applications are key to computing and Chrome apps are no exception. Applications, in this case chrome apps (or the lack thereof) will make or break my ability to use Chromebook for business.

I want to If you recall, I’m trying to determine if I can use a Chromebook in business. Not just m business, but whether I believe I can recommend it for the clients I work with. I’ve taking my evaluation slow and trying it. You might want to read the first two posts (How I’m learning to do business with a Chromebook and What I learned traveling with Chromebook) to better understand my findings.

TChrome Apps are available in the Chrome web storehe place to find Chrome apps is in the Chrome web store. There is no lack of applications for Chromebook, but they’re not all the same. Applications in the web store fall into two categories; applications and extensions. If you use the Chrome browser you’re probably familiar with these. One side benefit of using the Chrome browser is any applications or extensions you installed will sync to Chromebook (and visa versa.)

There are two categories of chrome applications:

  • Web (Cloud) Applications – cross platform browser based applications. Cloud applications are platform agnostic.
  • Chrome Apps – Applications written specifically for Chrome. These are available as Applications and Extensions to the Chrome browser.

As a reminder, neither Chromebook or Chrome OS support what Google refers to as client applications. software that executes on the computer. Chrome apps run in the Chrome browser.

The Essentials

I use a lot of software, but I knew I had to strip down to the essentials. Here’s my initial cut at the software I have to have to start with. I am finding as time goes on I want to try doing more and searching for and testing comparable software is becoming a chore.

Core Applications

  • Office Productivity (Word-Processing, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Note taking)
  • E-Mail
  • Calendar (must sync to my existing calendar)
  • Conferencing

Remember, this is for business so my list is pretty short.

Must have – I use or have an need for every one of these applications

Choosing my applications

I had to plan carefully because not all applications are available if there is no Internet, but I want as much of my desktop experience as possible. [Translation: I need to be productive]

Microsoft Office logoAs it turned out everything on my list was available. Granted I will have to modify how I work, but the Chromebook is not meant to be my primary machine. One of my goals was to be able to support cross-platform sharing with minimal need to convert or translate data; standards are important to me. As long as I can open and save to my cloud stores in my default formats and open on my primary machine in the same format at a later date I’m happy.

Some of the applications I use are what I Google Appswould call hybrid; cloud applications that can work off-line and sync back to the cloud when a connection is available. Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365/Online fall into that category, but Office 365/Online only works in this mode on a Microsoft platform. Off-line versions of the Google Apps suite exist and sync as mentioned earlier. I’ll use both and that should not be a problem since they save in the standard Microsoft formats.

Oddly enough there are two item on the list that I’m having trouble with:

  1. Email client – I have not been able to find an universal client yet, one that will access all my mail account. So far that is a minor annoyance since I always use my smartphone or if I really need to the web interface for the mailboxes.
  2. Password Manager – I use KeePass and I’ve not found a suitable Chrome app to access my password file. I can still access get to the file from my smartphone, but I’ll keep looking.

If you haven’t been taking Chrome OS and the Chromebook seriously as a viable computing platform, it’s time to take another look. Last year saw the launch of Chrome Apps, designed to run like native desktop applications, and just last week, Google announced that select Android apps such as Evernote and Duolingo would be coming to Chrome OS thanks to the App Runtime Project.

Source: 15 Best New Chrome Apps

What else

I’m doing some Social Media, Marketing and website work lately. While some of the tools I use are client applications (described earlier) the majority are cloud-based. I’m also using a number of Chrome extensions which sync’d from the Chrome browser.

So far it looks like I’m all set with the applications, but I’ve found there one more piece very important piece that needs to be addressed.

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