Chrome OS is built around the Chrome browser, so it requires less resources, hence enabling it to start faster. Unfortunately despite its hallmark speed advantage, Chrome OS still has a major weakness.
Most of the apps available requires your machine to be online all the time. The workaround for this weakness are “offline apps”, apps which have all the data they need to run without downloading anything else.
Here are a few offline apps which will ensure that your offline experience with Chrome OS is seamless.
Google Drive (Productivity)
Google Drive is a default app in Chrome OS, and has been integrated into the OS to act like an additional drive. On top of that, it also doubles as a productivity suite since Google Docs was absorbed into Google Drive. You’re able to start or work on documents, slides and spreadsheets saved onto the machine while offline, which would take away any excuse not to work on a Chromebook. And if you need additional functionality, you can install apps that let you edit photos, draw graphs, create forms and sign documents straight from Google Drive.
Deezer is one of the biggest streaming music services right now with millions of tracks for you to listen to. You can run it straight from your browser the moment you log in. However, to download tracks onto your Chromebook, you’d have to shell out for a Deezer Premium+ account which would set you back $12.50 a month. It might not seem much at first, but it will add up over time, so you’d have to weigh the cost against the benefits of having your tracks offline.
Gmail, a web-based email service, is currently one of Google’s biggest consumer services. However with the usual web-based Gmail, you’re required to be online in order to retrieve and reply emails. Now with Gmail Offline, you can easily store a week, 2 weeks or even a month’s worth of mail on your Chromebook. It also has very conventional and pleasant looking interface which is easy to use and navigate. Most of the basic email functions you’re used to on regular Gmail are available here, even color-coded labels.
Angry Birds (Gaming)
If the Chromebook is the only device that accompanies you on your travels, you might want to get yourself a good offline game. What better game than Angry Birds, which has millions of users across the globe right? Unfortunately, the sad truth is, there aren’t many quality games on Chrome to begin with. The best and most recognizable offline-capable game we found on the fledgling Chrome platform was Angry Birds. We do have hopes that as Chrome OS takes off, there will be more games from other high profile developers, and not just Rovio.
Google Keep (Read)
Google Keep is not just fast and lightweight, it has also been upgraded by Google recently to appear in a standalone window when opened in Chrome OS (or Chrome desktop browser) rather than in a new tab. This gives you the flexibility of taking quick notes while working on your Chrome browser, without switching to another tab. Another major advantage is that it syncs flawlessly with the Google Keep apps in your Android device, so you can have your notes anytime, anywhere.
Read Later Fast (Read)
“Read later” apps are apps that saves online articles, formats and stores them for offline reading. You’d think that the most prominent of these apps like Instapaper and Pocket would be on this list, but unfortunately, they aren’t yet. However, there is Read Later Fast, which does the same thing, except it only works on the Chrome browser. The caveat here is that this app isn’t available on other platforms like Android or iOS yet. This means that while you’d be able to read articles saved on your Chromebook, you can’t access them with any of your other devices.
Kindle Cloud Reader (Read)
The Kindle Cloud Reader basically pulls the digital books you’ve bought (using certain workarounds) through Amazon, and stores the selected books in your Chromebook so that you can read it later. This app functions like a typical book reading app, and allows you to customize page layouts with your preferred fonts and colors. You’re also able to use more advanced features like adding notes, highlights, bookmarks and syncing your last page read across all your Kindle apps on other platforms and devices.