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Google Desktop Apps Every Chromebook User Needs

By Edited Feb 19, 2014 0 0

About Desktop Apps

The Google Chromebook is a much better device that most people give it credit for.  It might be the only SSD notebook you can buy for under $250, and it's certainly one of the fastest, zippiest, and most portable laptops for it's very modest price.  And while it certainly isn't for anyone, those that do purchase one will find that there ia whole lot of things you can do with this tiny computer.

Some of the best tools that you will find with the Chromebook are the Google desktop apps.  While these could actually be used by anybody on any computer, they will particularly appeal to Chromebook users who, every now and then, want to open up a window that doesn't look like a web browser.  Luckily, Google is constantly getting more and more desktop apps.  Some of them are productive, some of them are just for fun, and others still are a bit of both!  And while some of the apps that you will find in the Chrome web store are not free, all of the ones on this list are.


Although you can use the popular Evernote application on a Chromebook, there is not a native desktop app you can launch for it (at least not yet.)  However, there is something called WorkFlowy.

What WorkFlowy does is allow you to create organized multi-layered lists and notes.  It may not be the prettiest or most complex application in the world, but it is minimalist, neat, useful, and very easy to start using.  The developers describe it as a "notepad with super powers" and that really is a great way of putting it.

You could use it for organizing your thoughts when writing a book, blog post, article, or essay.  You could use it for taking notes in a class and grouping concepts and lists of important information together.  And you don't need the internet for any of it, although when you do connect to a Wi-Fi network it will automatically synchronize your notes across your computers, web browsers, tablets, and cell phone.  Plus it is completely free to download and use.


Survival games seem to be the next big genre for the industry, with lots of the most recent successful games fitting into that mold.  Polycraft is another such survival game, but with a few added twists to keep things interesting.

You are stranded on a deserted island.  And that's means there's lots to do and keep you busy.  You have to build a base, search for and manage resources, and fend off strange and evil creatures called "Ferals".  Players are assisted by local friendly creatures called "Wildlings".  It is necessary to befriend these creatures to fend off the evil Ferals, you can't do it all alone.  In addition, you will need the help of the Wildlings to explore the rest of the mysterious island, so it all sort of builds on itself.

The graphics are nothing special, but they work for this type of game.  Besides, that's not what is really important anyway.  The gameplay is a bit of a mash up between several types of fun and popular genres- strategy, and tower defense.  There is also a sense of role playing and dungeon exploration, as you continue to explore the island and venture through the dens of the evil Ferals.  You don't need an internet connection to run it, and you don't need a credit card to buy it because it costs nothing.

Lucidchart Diagrams

If you have ever gotten writer's block, or just felt overwhelmed by all of your thoughts when it comes to writing a paper, then this app is just right for you.  Lucidchart allows you to create flowcharts and diagrams that are organized, color coordinated, and connected in whatever manner works best for your brain.


Making flow charts can be great to help you get started working on something.  Sometimes you have a bunch of ideas in your head but you don't know where to go with all of them.  You make a sort of "mind map" that allows you to express any and all thoughts that come to mind.  Then using all of the formatting tools that Lucidchart offers, you can connect these ideas and thoughts however you like.  For instance, if you are writing a paper, you may want to lump all of the points for a particular paragraph of your essay together.

Another cool thing that you can use Lucidchart for is creating linked chains of certain events.  If you are trying to make a timeline of events for an upcoming test you're studying for or just want to get a better understanding of how a system works from the top down (or bottom up) then Lucidchart's diagrams work great for that as well.  And just like the other desktop applications already mentioned, it's completely free.

Pixlr Touch Up

No matter who you ask, supporter or hater of the Google Chromebook, everyone will tell you that this isn't a device that is very good at things like photo editing.  It just doesn't have the power or the memory for doing high end stuff like that.

However, that doesn't mean that it is a completely useless device when it comes to your photo collection.  In steps pixlr touch up.  If you aren't familiar with pixlr, it is a fantastic web application (and now Chrome desktop app) where you can do either extensive or basic photo modifying.  This "touch up" desktop version leans more towards the basic.


Still, most people don't want to do much more than the basics that an easy to use piece of software such as this allows.  Like the software's name would suggest, Pixlr Touch Up allows you to do basic little things to your picture collection.  You can crop, adjust lighting, change colors around, make pictures black and white, things of that nature.  It's definitely not as powerful as a tool like Adobe Photoshop, or even GIMP, but it will run seamlessly on a computer like the Google Chromebook, which is really more important anyway.  Oh, and just like every other desktop app on this list, it's completely free.



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