Google Chromebook and its browser-as-operating-system approach to computing have put the spotlight on web-based applications.
The Chromebook's Chrome OS represents a completely new approach to computing. On a traditional Mac or Windows-based computer, there is the operating system on top of which the web browser resides. When a user goes online to check email, read news, or visit websites, that user must first start the operating system and then the browser. In a Chromebook, the device opens directly in the browser.
This means that Chromebook users must also look for new applications for managing spreadsheets or creating presentations. To help, the Chrome OS has a special section for web applications. A user can "install" a web application or an extension and use it rather than an incumbent solution like Microsoft Word.
In this article, you'll find 15 office and productivity applications to use in your Chromebook.
Google Docs is the defacto office and productivity suite for the Chromebook. The Docs suite includes a word processor, spreadsheet program, slide presentation tool, and form maker. The documents are stored in the cloud and are easy to share with others. Hardcore Microsoft Word users will notice some shortcomings, but Google Docs is a solid choice. Google Docs is available via the Chrome Web Store or online.
Live Documents is an office productivity suite with a spreadsheet solution, a word processor, and a presentation solution. The company’s main claim to fame is that it offers loss-less round tripping to Microsoft Office, meaning that you can create a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel, edit it in Live Documents, and then reopen it later in Excel, without loss of data. Live Documents is available in the Chrome Web Store.
Zoho Writer, Sheet, and Show combine to provide a comprehensive and free web-based office suite. The tools are more robust than some other web applications. The Zoho applications are also available in the Chrome Web Store.
SlideRocket is an effective cross platform presentation solution that integrates some of the best features of HTML5 and other modern web technologies into its platform. It assists in creating conversations rather than just lectures. Find SlideRocket in the Chrome Web Store.
Vyew is an online visual collaboration and sharing solution that allows you to conduct meetings in real time — or over time. In these meetings you have the ability to share images or documents and use an online whiteboard. Vyew is a popular app in the Chrome Web Store.
Evernote is the cross platform productivity tool that helps you remember everything. Armed with a Chromebook and a scanner, this tool will help you organize your life. Evernote is available for many devices and is very popular in the Chrome Web Store.
Gravity is a web based project management tool that has both free and paid options. Gravity has a very functional, drag-and-drop interface that makes scheduling and editing tasks relatively easy. Gravity, which is available in the Chrome Web Store, would work for managing website upgrades, new inventory or warehouse projects, or more.
5pm is a web-based project and task management tool that provides fairly robust way to handle many common business, marketing, and web development tasks. Like similar solutions, 5pm is available in the Chrome Web Store, and may be easily integrated with a Chromebook.
Remember the Milk is a to-do list tool that will work on your Chromebook or mobile device. The solution has been very popular with iPhone users and with early adaptors for some time. Now Remember the Milk is available in the Chrome Web Store.
Wave Accounting is an accounting suite aimed at small businesses and freelancers. It is a relatively lightweight solution for managing your books. Wave Accounting is free. Check it out in the Chrome Web Store.
Zoho Books is a simple business accounting suite that allows users to monitor cash flow, reconcile accounts, generate balance sheets and other reports. It will also keep track of standard accounts receivable and payable. Zoho Books is available in the Chrome Web Store too.
The Chromebook certainly represents a shift in computer use. Chromebook's web applications have some work to do before they can truly compare head-to-head with leading desktop applications, but the Chromebook apps on this least are very solid choices for Chromebook users.