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All Things Appy: 5 Best Chrome Business Apps

All Things Appy: 5 Best Chrome Business Apps

Among the mind-boggling array of apps available for businesses there are five gems offered at the Chrome Web Store that are well worthy of consideration: TweetDeck and HootSuite for social media management; Zoho CRM for customer relationship management; Wave Accounting for small business finanacial management; and IssueBurner for help desk management. All of these stellar apps are free.

By Patrick Nelson
01/16/13 5:00 AM PT

Just which are the best apps out there enabling us to make the most of our phones, tablets and computers? Over the last few weeks, TechNewsWorld's All Things Appy has been taking a hard look at these newfangled software program disrupters.

This week, All Things Appy looks at must-have, 21st century business-oriented tools in the Chrome Web browser environment.

About the Environment

Chrome apps are found in Google's Chrome Web Store. Download Google's Chrome browser, and click on a new tab within the browser.

Then choose the Chrome Web Store link in the lower right corner of the page. Use the Search text box to find the required app.

Here's a look at five of the best free business-oriented tools.

No. 1: TweetDeck

chrome
tweetdeck

TweetDeck is a social media management app that claims 1,380.291 users and has a Chrome Web Store rating of 4 stars out of a possible 5 from 5,083 reviewers.

Marketers can engage with Twitter conversations in real time with this app. An included Timeline provides the same classic feed seen in the standard Twitter client.

However, the app also provides at-a-glance standard and optional alternative views that include Interactions, Mentions, Messages and Activity, among others -- and it's all on the same schedule-capable, dashboard-like screen, creating a Twitter command center. Simple.

Tweetdeck

No. 2: HootSuite

chrome
hootsuite

HootSuite is a social media management app that claims 287,287 users and has a Chrome Web Store rating of 4 stars out of a possible 5 from 674 reviewers.

Not purely Twitter-focused like TweetDeck -- and a bit more complicated, with more analytics -- HootSuite lets marketers manage campaigns across social media platforms. Streams include Facebook and LinkedIn, among others.

Add-ons include the HootSuite Hootlet extension that lets you automatically capture Web content, and schedule and publish across social networks.

No: 3: Zoho CRM

chrome
zoho crm

Zoho CRM is a customer relationship management app that claims 37,905 users and has a Chrome Web Store rating of 4 stars out of a possible 5 from 27 reviewers.

Zoho CRM, with free options for up to three users, has the most Chrome Web users for a free CRM app.

Zoho features lead management, account and contacts, sales opportunities, social CRM and reports. Import functions are included so you don't have to re-enter data. Paid add- ons include an email product, QuickBooks accounting, and telephony integration.

No 4: Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting is a small-business finance and accounting app that claims 105,423 users and has a Chrome Web Store rating of 4 out of a possible 5 from 212 reviewers.

This app includes expenses tracking, plus double-entry accounting reports. It's geared toward entrepreneurs and freelancers.

Accountant-friendly balance sheets and ledgers can be created, as can invoicing and insightful graphical snapshots. Online bank accounts can be synchronized.

This is an advertising-sponsored free app -- and at that price, it's a boon to small businesses.

No. 5: IssueBurner

IssueBurner is a help desk and issue tracking app that claims 8,845 users and has a Chrome Web Store rating of 4.5 out of a possible 5 from 51 reviewers.

This app provides a Web-based interface to track customer issues until they're closed. Free for a couple of users, it cuts out the email inbox tracking that often has to take place at the small-business customer help desk level, when more expensive dedicated software isn't available.

It earned a runner-up position because once you've completed the sign-up process, the app amusingly continues in your default browser, which may be something other than Chrome, defeating the app-concept purpose somewhat.

However, TechNewsWorld likes the small business management functions of this app, and how it provides free, big-organization help desk capability to smaller outfits.

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!


Patrick Nelson has been a professional writer since 1992. He was editor and publisher of the music industry trade publication Producer Report and has written for a number of technology blogs. Nelson studied design at Hornsey Art School and wrote the cult-classic novel Sprawlism. His introduction to technology was as a nomadic talent scout in the eighties, where regular scrabbling around under hotel room beds was necessary to connect modems with alligator clips to hotel telephone wiring to get a fax out. He tasted down and dirty technology, and never looked back.


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