Chrome Top 10 2014

Top 10 Chrome Apps of 2014

December 29, 2014 - Written By Phil Bourget

Everyone knows that there is less than half a week left of 2014, then we get to see the new year break, as well as its new devices and ideas.  Many devices get a ‘Top 10’ or ‘Best of 2014’ made about them or their type of device, but software doesn’t get that too often.  So, we’re here to give a Top 10 Chrome apps of 2014.  To set the name straight: any included app is not exclusively from 2014.  Links to the Chrome Web Store will be at the end of each section, in case you want to pick one or more up if you haven’t gotten them already.  We’ve got a range of toys for you to try, as all but one are free, so let’s get started on this countdown.

Gmail Offline

Number 10 goes to a classic app, Gmail Offline.  Yes, it’s essentially an offline app for your email, but sometimes that’s what you need.  And yes, this technically wasn’t touched since late 2013 as far as updates go, but it does what it needs to do in keeping your recent mail available for you when you’re travelling and working on those documents for the team and don’t have Wi-Fi to check the required whatevers for the project or documents.  There really isn’t much to explain, since it really is just an offline app for your inbox.  Head to the store to pick this one up.

Pocket

Now, number 9 is one we covered way back when we did a list of productivity tools for Chrome, and you should definitely have this installed on your desktop, laptop, and phone or tablet, because of what it lets you do.  Number 9 is Pocket, the offline-saving app.  Pocket, once you log in, lets you save web pages to your account and syncs the content across any connected devices.  If you happen to be in very volatile journalism, or a source is at risk for being taken down, save the page to Pocket and you’ve got proof the page existed, ready for offline use.  Or, if you happen to want a little bit of a scrapbook, go ahead and save your favorite blogs and blog posts, yours or someone else’s, and flip through at the end of the week, or the end of the year.  Accounts are free to sign up for, so go pick it up or get back to at the store.

Wunderlist

Number 8 is a new one to me, but since I’ve been using it, it’s been a rather worthy competitor for most opened on some of my devices, including my Asus C300.  It’s Wunderlist, and you probably already know about it, but still.  If you don’t know what Wunderlist is, it’s a list-making app that allows for reminders and other attention-getting features to be added to your lists.  Once you have an account, sync obviously occurs, so you’ll never be out of date on your latest lists.  There is an upgrade for even more features, it’s a monthly or yearly subscription to Pro, but a free account gets you enough power to get you on the road to remembering what groceries to get and what cat breeds look the cutest.  Check it out in the store if you think you need more lists for 2015.

Polarr

Number 7, lucky number 7, is a new app that I haven’t heard much of until I started really power-using my Chromebook, and that’s Polarr.  It’s a photo editing app that is an offline version of the associated website polarr.co, so if you need the editing but don’t have the Internet, then now you’re good to go.  And you’re even better to go, if that makes comparative sense to any of you, since the app now supports the editing of RAW format photos.  If you are in a pinch and need some good editing on your Chromebook, then give Polarr a try for sure.  Check it out on the web store, because even Google thought it was great (it made the ‘best apps of 2014’ list on the web store).

Sunrise

Number 6 is new to me as well, and it’s called Sunrise.  If you happen to be one of the many people alive today with an iPhone that use the Google calendar to try to sync up your iCloud calendar and Google calendar events, then this app is for you.  As with any great calendar, it’s free to install and use.  It’s available on the Chrome and Mac app stores, as well as the App Store and Play Store marketplaces so you can take it wherever on whichever device.  If you like minimal and flat, with just enough functionality to make it sing, then Sunrise is the one for you. It’s also for Windows users, since it’s a Chrome app.  Check it out on the store if Google’s calendar is just a little too unuseful for you.

Inbox by Gmail

Number 5 stole everyone’s attention a few months back.  Inbox is the name, invitation-only is the game.  Yes, Inbox was the Gmail-only email client for Android and Chrome that added reminders, to-dos, re-sends, and boomerangs to your inbox to make it work smarter for you all day.  But, as with many things, the hype in the press died down, but the invite system still causes minor problems even today.  The good part is that the app works the same on Chrome as it does on Android, so the greatness of the mobile app is available with a full keyboard and large-enough screen.  Inbox is still one of the most interesting things to come out of Google, app-wise, and it will likely be popular into the coming year.  If you’ve used it and want a bigger interface, hit the store for the download.

Text

Now we come to the one that can say that it almost made the Top 3 for the year.  It’s called Text, simple right?  It’s a text editor, simple as can be.  Its interface is clean and minimal, and it lets you edit text.  What kind of text?  HTML and CSS will look nice since it has syntax coloration, and it also lets you toggle line numbering, in case you are just writing a simple note instead of the next great webpage.  It’s free, fast, Material-y, and worth a look if you use text editors, or have been looking for a great one for Chrome.  The store awaits.

Hootsuite

Now we enter the Top 3.  And to begin the final stretch is a little diddy called Hootsuite.  If you’ve heard of it, you know why it’s here, but if not, then let me explain.  You know how there are those apps that let you manage your account across multiple social media sites?  This is one of them, and it’s an older one in that realm.  But don’t let that color the judgement, because it’s still a good-looking and highly-functional app that lets you work out of one app to get access to all the popular social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn to name a few.  If you have need of cross-platform social management, like a business with a multi-forum presence, then pick it up in the store and give it a look.

Hangouts

Number 2 is no surprise for anyone that has used it since its last few updates: Hangouts.  Yes, of course we had to include it since it’s how I get work texts, calls, and messages, and lets me talk from my Moto 360, Nexus 5, and Galaxy Camera then fluidly transition to the desktop.  Hangouts has gotten its full material design update on Android, as well as the dialer functionality added to the desktop version of the app, and it looks and works better than ever across multiple devices.  And since 2014 brought the long-awaited Google Voice integration it needed, it’s got my attention fully, as well as many others’.  You definitely should have this app at least installed so head to the store if you don’t yet.

myTab

And finally, the best Chrome app of 2014.  It’s not an app, that’s the twist.  The top thing on Chrome this year is something you might not have heard of at all, actually.  It’s called myTab, and it’s an extension, sort of.  myTab is an open-source, free, new tab page that you can customize with your information and important updates.  For instance, you can set it to let you know how many unread Gmail messages you’ve got, as well as subjects of them, a list of your installed and launchable apps, weather updates, news stories that update as long as you’re online, an alarm clock setting feature, as well as a page to launch when the alarm is done and going off (like a YouTube video of a siren or something), and a gorgeous background image to put it all on top of.  And the most interesting things about myTab are as follows: open-source, meaning you can create your own cards to add to your page, and the developer is only 16, so there’s tons of potential for future development from him.  myTab may not be an app, but it opens every time I hit ctrl + t on my keyboard, and it keeps me up-to-date and informed on what’s going on while I’m staring at my laptop. Check it out in the store if you want to give it a try.

Think we left one out that made your personal Top 10?  Think our list should have topped out at something different?  Ever heard of myTab before now?  How do you like it?  Be sure to give these apps a try, and let us know how it goes down below.