All Things Appy: Top 5 Chrome Entertainment Apps
Google's Chrome ecosystem shines with excellent -- and free -- Web apps providing all sorts of entertainment options. There's the movie-and-TV service Crackle, the popular Pandora music service, and a fully functioning app to access Google's flagship video-sharing property, YouTube. The Picasa photo album app and Radio, an international streaming music app, round out our top five.
Mar 20, 2013 7:00 AM PT
This week TechNewsWorld takes a look at the top five must-have free entertainment apps for the Chrome Web-browser based platform.
Google's Chrome Web browser features three types of add-ons -- Web apps, themes and extensions -- available at the Chrome Web Store.
Download the Chrome browser. Choose add-ons to enhance it by opening a new tab and clicking on the Chrome Web Store link in the lower right corner of the page.
Browse by selecting Apps or Extensions.
What's the difference? Within Google's Chrome environment, apps are often self-contained, whereas extensions can provide pop-up functions or otherwise interact with the Web page.
No. 1: Crackle TV and Movies
The Crackle Web app has 3+ stars out of a possible 5 from 947 reviewers in the Chrome Web Store. The app has 545,627 users.
Crackle, owned by Sony, supplies a vast array of free movies on demand. They aren't the latest, but they are full-length and uncut, and a lot of them were blockbusters at one time. Television shows, including entire seasons, are also in the mix, as are numerous anime films.
Paid subscription services like Netflix may be more suitable if you're finicky about release dates.
No. 2: Pandora Music
Pandora has 4 stars out of a possible 5 from 3,682 reviewers in the Chrome Web Store. The app has 1,127,154 users.
Pandora is personalized music. Punch in an artist's name and the app will deliver a stream of like-sounding music.
We've enjoyed using Pandora -- and also the similar Slacker -- in Google's mobile environment Android, too. However, recent news that Pandora will be limiting mobile streaming to 40-hours-per-month for royalty-cost reasons, makes this uncapped Google Chrome Web version doubly attractive.
No. 3: YouTube Online Video
YouTube has 4+ stars out of a possible 5 from 19,349 reviewers in the Chrome Web Store. The app has 10,000,000+ users.
How could we talk of entertainment within Google's flagship environment, Chrome Web, without mentioning Google's flagship success story, YouTube? This online video community almost needs no introduction.
Millions of people have shared original content through the channel. The YouTube Chrome Web app provides full functionality, including the ability to leave comments -- unlike some other apps available in other Google environments, like Google TV.
No. 4: Picasa Photo Album
Picasa has 4+ stars out of a possible 5 from 3,677 reviewers in the Chrome Web Store. The app has 1,845,725 users.
Picasa is a cure for cabin fever should you find yourself weather-struck. It provides hours of satisfying, free entertainment with a gig of free storage. Share your photos and videos online with Google's photo online sharing service.
Sticking with the Google theme for our No. 4 spot -- Chrome Web is Google's environment, after all -- you can upload and manage thousands of cloud-based images from the Chrome browser.
No. 5: Radio
Radio has four stars out of a possible five from 1,690 reviewers in the Chrome Web Store. The app has 422,677 users.
Listen to radio stations from around the world. The stations are grouped by country, unlike some other Internet radio offerings -- TuneIn, for example -- which group by genre.
This makes for a simple, effective interface. Choose your country, a popular station, press Play and forget it.
A rather convoluted install experience places Radio in a runner-up position. The app requires the non-Chrome Web Store Windows Media Player HTML5 Extension for Chrome, which involves multiple steps to install.
Note that favorite TuneIn isn't available in Chrome Web app form.
Want to Suggest an Apps Collection?
Is there a batch of apps you'd like to suggest for review? Remember, they must all be for the same platform, and they must all be geared toward the same general purpose. Please send the names of five or more apps to me, and I'll consider them for a future All Things Appy column.
And use the Talkback feature below to add your comments!