Your Chromebook is a safe, inexpensive, and simple portal to the internet but it can do so much more. Whether you want to get productive, have a little fun, or keep in touch you'll find an app to help do it in the Chrome Web Store. Here's the short — and ever-changing — list of ones we think you have to try.
- Polarr Photo Editor
- One Tab
- Mighty Text
Polarr Photo Editor
One area where Chromebooks have traditionally been lacking is media creation tools. Photoshop for Chrome is a real thing, but it requires you to have an Adobe education license for Creative Cloud and live in North America. If you meet these qualifications you should definitely have a look, but for the rest of us, there is Polarr Photo Editor.
Polarr is beautifully done, filled with features and is extremely lightweight. It's an offline app so you can work without an internet connection and it's the best way to edit photographs on your Chromebook. Whether you need to turn RAW files into great photos or just touch up something before you share it on Facebook, Polarr Photo Editor can handle the job.
We're cheating a little bit here, but access to Skype is important enough to allow it.
Skype on the web now supports text chat and phones calls using standard internet communication protocols — that means it works on your Chromebook.
There are many different communication apps available — including Google's own Hangouts — but for many Skype is the de facto standard. Using your Skype account and Microsoft's official website, all you need to do is log and start Skyping.
For those who want it, there are also several launchers at the Chrome Web Store that let you launch the Skype site in its own window through an icon, but we think a bookmark is just as good.
Any.do is one of the best ways to stay organized. It's a task manager, reminder list, calendar, and organizer all in one and it syncs across all your devices. It's also quite the looker!
Using the Any.do app for Chrome gives you the same tools and features as the client for your phone (Android and iOS) does plus the ability to drag and drop attachments, notes, and tasks using your Chromebook's trackpad. Any.do is scalable and great for keeping track of a few reminders or as a complete organization tool for your entire team.
The browser on your Chromebook is really great. One of the best features is opening windows in a separate and sandboxed tab. But too many tabs make finding one tough, and enough of them can slow things down. One Tab has your back!
One Tab puts a live link to every tab, or some tabs that you choose and puts them into one tab. You can go back and click any of the links to return and the tab survives when you close the browser or reboot your Chromebook.
If you always end up with a slew of tabs open and can't find the one you need, give One Tab a try.
You can take a screenshot on your Chromebook without any extra apps, but you might want to have a look at Nimbus if you need to do it more than once in a blue moon.
Nimbus lets you capture all or part of your screen, but it's also able to capture full web pages. You know how difficult that can be without the right software if you've never tried. On top of that you can create and edit screencast videos with Nimbus right on your Chromebook and while offline.
Nimbus is free and great at what it does.
If you're still waiting for Android apps on your Chromebook, or you just don't want to install everything from Google Play, Mighty Text is a great way to get all your notifications.
Don't let the name fool you. Might Text is awesome and lets you read, reply and send SMS messages using your regular phone number. But it can also forward any notification from your phone right to your Chromebook screen. Folks who use an app like this will tell you how cool this is, and once you try it you'll be doing the same. It's one of those apps you'll wish you had tried earlier.
Your favorite apps?
What are your favorite Chrome apps? Let us know in the comments below!
Updated June, 2018: Added a few new apps to our list and made sure everything was in working order.
This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for more details.