While Chrome OS on the whole was a fantastic idea, especially for those wanting a computer on a budget, it was hampered for quite some time. Then, Google decided to enhance the experience by bringing the Google Play Store to Chromebooks. Now, you have access to more apps than you know what to do with. While not every app from your phone is available on a Chromebook, we still found some of the best that you'll need beyond just the best Chromebook apps and Chrome extensions.
Keep in touch with everyone
Communication is key, especially with something like a Chromebook and the Play Store, which makes it so you don't have to rely on the browser. Some messaging apps are available in the browser, but you don't get all of the same benefits as the Play Store version. Whether you're trying to collaborate or catch up with family, these are the apps to keep in contact with everyone.
Free, easy, and useful
WhatsApp is one of the best and most used messaging apps and for good reason. It's easy to get started and chances are a few of your friends are already using it. Plus, you can make phone or video calls as well.
Telegram is one of the fastest-growing messaging apps thanks to its cross-platform availability. There are many different options available, including the ability to create groups with up to 200,000 members, and you can share all kinds of documents and files along with traditional gifs.
Where work gets done
Slack's Android app is far better than the native Chrome offering and runs flawlessly in its own resizable window on your desktop. It's also integrated perfectly and notifications come in the same way all your Chrome notifications do.
Not just for gamers
While Discord is aimed at gamers, the messaging platform works in just about any situation where you need to communicate. Create a channel and you can communicate via chat with all members. You can also jump into a voice chat if you want to catch up with some friends.
Easy video conferencing
Video conferences are all the rage and Zoom has taken off as one of the most popular options. Users can host meetings with up to 100 people for free, and up to 300 if you sign up for a paid account.
Everyone's using it
Everyone everywhere seems to have a Facebook account and Messenger is the easiest way to keep in touch with friends and family. You can create numerous group chats for every situation and can even play games to have some extra fun.
Stay on top of your tasks
Task management is an annoying necessity, even if it's for something as simple as a packing or grocery list. Thankfully, with these to-do apps, you'll be able to manage any project, big or small, easier than ever from your Chromebook.
Notes, lists, and more
Google Keep is fantastic at being the place to dump things hanging in your head. Whether it's a list, website link, or just a basic note, you can do it all with Google Keep. Plus, with the customizable cards, you won't forget where your notes are.
Powerful or basic
Regardless of if you have a big project or basic task list, Todoist can handle everything you throw at it. Premium members get additional features like Tags and Reminders, while the Free version will be more than enough for the majority of users.
Just tell Google
Sometimes keeping everything in Google's ecosystem is just easier, and Tasks isn't too shabby. You won't be able to keep track of complex projects, but you can make a few lists, have integration with Google Assistant, and view your tasks from everywhere.
More than lists
TickTick is quite impressive, despite not getting the same amount of fanfare as other to-do apps. The app features folders, along with the ability to create custom smart lists and add a priority to your tasks. There's even a built-in Pomodoro timer to help keep you focused on your work.
While you can use Asana to manage your personal projects, the real power is unlocked if you work with a team. Collaboration is easy to set up and manage, with useful features like comments and tagging. Best of all, it's available on the web, your phone, or your Chromebook as a standalone app.
After acquiring Wunderlist, Microsoft To Do has become one of the best free to-do apps available. You'll be able to import your Wunderlist tasks while being able to take advantage of smart lists to track different projects. All of this is possible without you needing to spend a dime.
The internet is a wonderful place to be, but with all of the different accounts you need, it's impossible to remember all of your passwords. You never want to use the same password twice, and with these password managers you'll not only be able to create unique passwords and manage them, but you can also be notified if one's been involved in a data breach.
Easiest to use
Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to keeping your passwords managed and secured. No other company does it quite like 1Password. In addition to the Android app on your Chromebook, you can install and use the 1Password X Chrome extension for even faster logins.
Step it up
Dashlane offers a beautifully-designed service to keep track of all of your passwords and then some. If your password is part of a security breach, you are notified and can change it immediately. With Dashlane Premium, you'll also get access to a built-in VPN, secure browser, and Dark Web Monitoring.
LastPass excels at being one of the more well-rounded password management apps, along with offering quite a robust free option. There's also a family plan available, capable of being used with a total of six members. When it comes to passwords, using Security Challenges ensures you're creating the best password possible.
Keep it social
It's no fun having a slew of browser windows open when you're hopping between social media networks. With the Play Store, you can now download the accompanying app for your favorite network, then browse and share to your heart's content.
The front page
Reddit is the "front page of the internet." You can end up in a rabbit hole rather quickly, or find an answer to a question you may have that hasn't been solved elsewhere on the web. Subreddits are communities where you can share your thoughts, opinions, or find some new wallpapers to download on almost any topic.
When it comes to keeping up with what's going on every day, there's no better way to do so than with Twitter. Companies have taken to announcing new products, updates, and more on Twitter, and you can follow as many people as you'd like.
Share your pics
While it's possible to take photos from some Chromebooks and upload them to Instagram, it's not the greatest experience. However, with the Android app on your Chromebook, you can do that or just keep up with your friends and what they ended up doing last weekend.
Relax with some movies or TV shows
There's nothing like sitting back with a good movie at the end of a long day. Thankfully there are quite a few streaming services for you to pick and choose from. Some make it possible to watch live TV, while others give you access to some classics you may have forgotten.
The de-facto choice
There are a lot of streaming services available now that are trying to take away the thunder of Netflix, but the company continues to churn out original content, while still being home to other movies and TV shows that you can't find elsewhere. What better way to unwind from the day than with your favorite show on Netflix?
The Disney+ library is so vast it can be a bit head-spinning. That doesn't mean that you should avoid it, as it has some of the best movies and TV shows that you grew up with. Best of all, if there's something that you want to hit the nostalgia bone with, chances are it's on Disney+.
Any video format
Streaming services are great and all, but if you already have a library of content, then you'll likely be watching it with VLC. This app has support for a slew of video formats, but you can also use it to listen to music or audiobooks. You will no longer need to worry about downloading a great movie, only to be unable to play it due to the format.
More than video games
Now that Mixer is out of the way, Twitch is the go-to spot for big-time video game streamers. However, if you want to browse around, you'll be surprised to find that there's much more available than just video games.
Amazon's amazing library
Amazon's Prime Video library is quite vast and if you are already subscribed to Prime, is a great way to watch some awesome movies. There are some shows and movies that you can't find elsewhere, while new and unique content is being released all of the time.
Cut the cord
While Hulu does have a decent backlog of content for you to watch, the biggest benefit is being able to watch live television. This opens the door for so much more than a catalog of already-recorded shows and movies. You can even record content to watch later if you can't make it home in time.
Edit those photos and videos
Regardless of if you are taking pictures with your smartphone, DSLR, or your Chromebook, you'll likely want to run them through a photo editor. Maybe you just need an app to manage and back all of them up. These are the best apps to manage and edit your photos and videos.
Your photos everywhere
There are practically no limits to what you can do with Google Photos when it comes to managing your pictures and videos. You can back everything up, create folders, share them with friends and family, and keep everything organized. Photo management has never been easier thanks to Google Photos.
Straight from Google
If you need to edit your pictures, and don't want to sign up for a subscription, it's tough to find a better option than Snapseed. There are a plethora of editing tools, along with filters. You can also quickly share those edited photos with your friends or just save them for yourself.
Video editing made easy
It's fine and dandy if you want to edit footage from your GoPro, but with Quik, you don't need anything else. Instead, you can add up to 75 photos or video clips, including Motion Photos. Then, you can easily create an awesome video to show off highlights from your vacation.
A step above
There are different tiers of photo editors that you can use and play around with. Lightroom is at the medium-level with the plethora of tools that you can use to tweak your photos. There are also automatic adjustments that can be enabled so that you can let the app do the work and still get amazing photos.
What sets Infinite Painter apart are the brushes and how they work with the different paper textures available. We expect things to look and feel different when using different textures and Infinite Painter does it better than anyone else.
All the tools
Adobe's Photoshop is the cream of the crop when it comes to photo editors. There are more tools than you can imagine and with Adobe's Cloud, you can start editing something on one device and pick it up on another with ease. With a PS Express Premium subscription, you'll be paying a bit less than you would for the desktop client.
Try a different browser
If you're working from a Chromebook, it's unlikely that you would realize that there are other browser apps available. So no, you are not just "stuck" with Chrome and the Play Store opens the door for you to use many popular third-party browsers on your Chromebook.
For as great as the web is, there are a lot of people out there who wish to do bad things with your information. Brave helps to combat that by offering protection and blocking for ads and other online trackers. All of this is done in a streamlined UI that's much quicker than other browsers.
You can sync with other devices running Firefox, have the same privacy settings that you have on any other version of Firefox, and can use the same extensions across every installation. You can run the Android version of Firefox full-screen and set things to always serve the desktop page instead of mobile.
Still hanging around
Once upon a time, Opera was the de-facto choice as a secondary browser. Browsers have evolved and the developers have done everything they can to keep Opera chugging along. The app offers a slew of customizable features along with a built-in VPN and adblocking.
Triage those emails
If you've had the same email for years, there's a pretty good chance that it's turned into a digital junk drawer. But you don't want to completely ignore all of your emails if something important arrives in your Inbox. These are our favorite email apps that you can download and use on your Chromebook, instead of being relegated to a browser window for every email address you have.
If you're willing to pay for this client, Newton Mail is arguably the best app to manage your emails. There are quite a few great features baked in, and now it's under new management. This app continues to go away and come back with a vengeance, and for good reason.
Better than you think
Outlook used to be the laughing stock of email clients and was extremely frustrating to use. As time has passed, Microsoft put more of a concerted effort into its email app and now Outlook is one of the better options out there. And no, you don't need to sign up for Office 365 to take advantage of it.
The obvious choice