By: James Mallon
By this time, most of us know we are getting laptops. Great. We also know there is no more Microsoft. Not so great. However, there is one major benefit to Google Chrome that many people are not aware of. Google web apps are a relatively new and innovative twist for Google Chrome users. Its simple- you download apps off the Chrome store just like you would if you were buying apps from iTunes. These apps not only enhance the web based experience of Chrombooks, they provide solutions to problems we all encounter.
Let’s start with productive apps. ‘Sliderocket’ is an app that opens an online program very similar to Microsoft PowerPoint, or Prezi but with a few added features. For example, you can easily look up quotations without leaving the page. It has a pretty simple format, although it differs from PowerPoint and will take some time to learn. Maybe you’re having trouble with a language at school? Well, if you take French or Spanish you can download an app to help you master the language. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be an app to help you learn Latin, although I wouldn’t be be surprised if one is available by August. Software developers are working on these all the time. The more customers they have, the more incentive there is to produce apps we can all love.
There are also several other apps that work for all subjects. ‘FlashCards’ does as the name implies and helps make flashcards. It will also keep track of how many you get right or wrong as you go through them so you can know if you’re going to bomb the test or ace it. Of course there might be more than just vocabulary on the test. If so, make sure you get the ‘Studyers’ app. Instead of carrying around all those heavy notebooks in your backpack, you can create several online notebooks through this simplistic but yet efficient program.
Once you have your flashcards and notebooks on your Google Chromebook, all you’ll need is some music to listen to as you study. No problem, ‘Google Play’ will easily transfer your iTunes music onto the app so you can listen to it anytime you’re logged into your Chrome account. There are also calendar, memo, and other apps to better help you manage your time. There is even an app, ‘timestats’, which tracks how much time you spend on each web site and displays it in a helpful pie chart (warning: you might not want to look at this app if you are addicted to Facebook and Twitter, because the results can be disturbing). This is just one of many widgets you can add to your toolbar. You can also get widgets that have a new fact every time you click it, or one that tells you the joke of the day. Additional toolbar apps include: Ad Blocker, Google Translate, Google spell check, and even a panic button that closes all tabs immediately but safely secures them in another folder so you can keep whatever you’re looking at private, without having to exit out completely.
The game selection isn’t awful, but there is much to be improved upon. For many of the game options you have to download different software, which can be a hassle. Overall though, there is a lot of potential for Google apps. Take a look for yourself- you might be surprised.
By: Carson Rebel
- Fiabee – This app sort of acts like a file holder. It allows you to access, share, and search all the files that you have downloaded or stored in your Chromebook. It’s an independent website, and you can just drop the files right in there for storage or whatever, using the cloud. You can share a link to any of your files through email and many other things like facebook and twitter. IT also has a favorites column where you can store favorite pictures and music. A very good choice for storing files on the new Chromebooks.
- Zoho Sheet – The Google Zoho Sheet is just like Microsoft Excel. It is an online spreadsheet on the cloud and, considering that our Chromebooks won’t have any Microsoft features, this will be extremely helpful to use for various projects and what not. You all know and hopefully have used a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, so this isn’t any different. The one thing that stood out for me was that if there was a group project and there were 4 people working on a spreadsheet, they can all work simultaneously on the Zoho Sheet. It’s sort of like a Prezi. Another helpful app for our chromebooks, and if you like Zoho sheets, you may also like the formating of their other ‘office’ style cloud-based apps.
- SlideRocket – This helpful app will come in handy probably even more than the Zoho sheet, as most people do more slide shows than spreadsheets. Nonetheless, SlideRocket is the Google replacement for Microsoft PowerPoint, and it has some features that are very useful. It is accessible anywhere, it easily records audio, and, again, it can be collaborated on by more than one student at a time, for projects and such. This is another very helpful app.
- Google Docs – Of course, the replacement of Microsoft Word is going to be one of the most used apps for our Chromebooks. Whether it be writing a paper on a trip in the car, taking notes in class, or writing short, multi-paragraph blogs to be posted on the Rebel Report, this app will be necessary for everyone in the school. You don’t know it, but try to think of how many times we go on Word to do something. Google Docs will be accessible from anywhere, and, even though it is connected to the cloud and internet connection is preferred, you can still read your documents without an internet connection. YES!
- Springpad – This little app is probably the least needed out of the five here, but it still might be very important to have. It allows you to create notebooks of things or topics of your choice. It sort of mimics Prezi, in that it is like a sophisticated PowerPoint, but you can still use it for projects like having to do a project on a foreign country, you just make a notebook for it and you can edit it anytime you want to. It can be very helpful when you need it.
Can’t wait for Chromebooks. It’s better than nothing.
Editor’s Note; Mrs Parker has to give a little shout out to an App I’ve seen recommended again, and again: Evernote.