Google recently launched the Chrome Web Store which stocks Chrome “webapps” as well as Chrome themes and extensions. These free and paid webapps allow you to extend the functionality of your Chrome browser by installing small third party programs within your browser. we have outlined the method of installing and uninstalling these webapps as well as making effective use of them. In this article, I will highlight some of my favourite webapps.
A number of the webapps in the Chrome web store are merely links to standard HTML websites, and these really aren’t worth installing. Instead, I have selected six of my favourite free webapps (so far) which use the latest and greatest browser technologies, such as HTML5, to provide specific functions in the Chrome browser.
Note: These apps all require a Chrome browser to run.
1. New York Times
Browsing the news on a dedicated website usually involves reading blocks of text and navigating a plethora of ads. The NY Times Chrome webapp is refreshing in that its design is focused on solely displaying the news story, complete with a large headline and thumbnail picture (where relevant). The more relevant stories are also in a larger font to make them stand-out. Additionally, there are no ads to distract from the text of the articles. Clicking on an article pops up a window which displays the complete text of the article with a large photo.
Finally, it is also possible to navigate through the various sections of the NY Times.
TweetDeck is one of my most frequently used desktop applications. It is a simple tool that allows me to aggregate all my social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Buzz, Foursquare and LinkedIn) into one interface. The user-interface for TweetDeck webapp is very similar to the desktop application, but the backend has been completely redesigned to make use of new features like HTML 5 etc. One of the most notable feature is the unique way in which the social media streams are aggregated into a “Home” column, a “Me” column and an “Inbox“.
Additionally, the webapp also displays pop-up notifications on new events.
3. eBuddy Web Messenger
The biggest problem with using a browser is that it is difficult to communicate with your friends using instant messaging applications. The eBuddy Web Messenger webapp alleviates this problem by aggregating MSN, Yahoo!, Facebook, GTalk and a number of other instant messaging applications into one handy webapp.
The webapp is somewhat similar to the eBuddy website, and it displays notifications when contacts come online or go offline. Additionally, the webapp is also separate from a particular browser session, so it almost feels like a stand-alone application.
4. Write Space
Write Space is a very simple distraction-free writing webapp. The webapp allows you to input text straight into your browser. It is a great tool if you want to take some notes, or even writing a full-length article.
The webapp also comes with some basic customisability options, allowing you to change the size of the writing space, the font colour, size and typeface.
5. Read Later Fast
If you end up reading a lot of articles online, Read Later Fast is a useful tool to keep track of the ones you aren’t immediately able to read.
Right-clicking on the page of an article and selecting “Read Later” will bookmark the article and add it to the Read Later Fast Inbox. From here you are able to read the article at any time at your own leisure.
SparkChess is a beautifully designed premium chess webapp. If you are at all interested in playing chess, this webapp is a great way to fill up some free time. It comes with three levels of difficulty (in the free version) allowing you to practice and hone your chess playing skills.
The webapp has a paid version which unlocks certain features, however it is possible to use most of the features of the webapp without paying.
Finally, if you need to know the current date/time, the “Clock” is an invaluable addition to your list of webapps. Aside from displaying the date/time, the app can also be used to set an alarm, start a countdown timer and a stopwatch.
Most of the webapps in the Chrome Web Store are merely links to HTML5 rich websites. These are fairly useless as it is easy enough to bookmark the website without actually “installing” the webapp. However, there are some webapps, such as TweetDeck, which provides incredible functionality, complete with notifications, which truly enhance the users experience in the Chrome browser.
What is your list of favorite Chrome webapps?