Google Apps optimize

The 10 best Chrome apps and extensions for Google Apps users

Kevin Purdy lists 10 great apps and extensions that work well for Google Apps users doing their work in a Chrome browser.

Chrome is Google's own browser, and so it's a naturally comfortable place to be using a Google Apps account to get things done. Google Apps works generally well on its own with a few browser tabs open, but you can get more information, and get more productive, by installing a few handy extensions and web-based apps in your Apps-friendly Chrome browser.

Here, then, are 10 great apps and extensions that specifically work well for Google Apps users doing their work in a Chrome browser (Table A). We'll follow up in the near future with versions of this list for Firefox and Internet Explorer, but for now, it's a Google-centric compilation. Google, too, tends to make the most powerful and Apps-friendly extensions, which you'd somewhat expect, but take note of a few key third-party apps that definitely make Chrome a better place to work.

We're not including the standard extensions that the average Chrome user should probably check out, like LastPass for passwords or TweetDeck for social navigation. These are Apps-specific tools for connecting to your organization or site.

Table A

Extension

What It Does

Docs PDF/Powerpoint Viewer Converts web links to PDF, PPT, and other Docs-friendly formats to open in a new Docs tab, so you can easily save, edit, and share. You can also whitelist sites you want to grab actual files from in the options.
Send from Gmail Makes Gmail/Google Apps mail your default email handler when you click email addresses. Set up your Google Apps address in the options.
Offline Google Mail The name is misleading - it's actually the key app that enables offline tools for Google Mail, Calendar, and Docs.
Google Mail Checker Your author's not a huge fan of distracting notifiers/checkers, but if you like to know how many messages wait for your attention, then this is the extension for you.
Google Calendar This little toolbar button is quite powerful, showing your upcoming events, grabbing events from the page you're looking at, and offering a quick-add dialog for typing out new events quickly. Set up your Apps calendar account in the options.
Picnik Extension for Chrome Grab a screenshot off the page you're looking at, or quickly edit and resize an image you find, with options for saving to your Google Apps account.
Hide Google+ Notification If you get a lot of Google+ notifications or you've somehow signed up for Google+ without meaning to, this extension does just one thing, and well: it hides the red notification button on every site except Google+ itself.
Scratchpad Don't want to bother with the whole offline Docs installation? Install Scratchpad, a small app that takes notes offline, then syncs up with any Docs in your account using the "Scratchpad" label.
Lazarus If you fill out a lot of web forms, you'll find that Chrome is pretty good at saving your data, but not perfect. Lazarus recovers your entered text in a secure way, so no crash, power loss, or Wi-Fi drop can ruin your day.
Smartr A really interesting, if not strictly necessary, contact management add-in for Google Apps that provides context on the people you're mailing. Formerly known as Xobni.

Also read:

About

Kevin Purdy is a freelance writer, a former editor at Lifehacker.com, and the author of The Complete Android Guide.

7 comments
mewombat
mewombat

Awesome screenshot, YouTube mp3 grabber, sendlink with Gmail.

meski.oz
meski.oz

If you make an application do everything out of the box, it'll be bloatware. Allowing a user to add extensions is a sensible way of stopping this. As for problems, yes and no. There are badly written extensions, and there is incompletely tested bloatware. Both cause problems. Loosely coupled modules will likely win, though.

Gisabun
Gisabun

If you need to install "extensions" to any application, it shows that the developer [in this case Google], didn't seem to came much about functionality. And some extension could cause problems [i.e. memory leaks, bad programming, open up a security issue].

ctsbc
ctsbc

Google Shortcuts iReader Readerability.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What is your favorite Chrome extension and why do you recommend it?

belli_bettens
belli_bettens

The extensions provide functionality that is only being used by a very small number of people. When putting this into the 'main software', it only confuses other users and decreases user experience and usability. a good developer only provides functions that the user will need, not those functions that he is capable to program.

Vernon.Aspinall
Vernon.Aspinall

Send to Kindle (from klip.me) Clip to Evernote World Time Buddy (I'm in South Africa, and we have clients in various time zones around the world. Also, they have DST, and we don't)