20 free Google Chrome apps to boost your productivity


Google Chrome might well become the world’s popular browser this year. It has already overtaken Mozilla Firefox and is well positioned to overtake Internet Explorer whose share sunk to from 46 to 38,5 percent last year. Chrome is extremely easy to browse and offers a number of useful extensions and apps. Recently, Google has redesigned Chrome’s interface which means you can now shift between most visited sites and Chrome apps. You can significantly increase your browser’s functionality by using them. Here are 20 free apps that you as journalist will love.


Transcribing recorded audio might be tricky and tiring, if you have to constantly switch between the text document and audio player. Transcribe solves this problem and lets you play audio and write the transcript in one window. The app also works offline, all you need to do is to upload your mp3 or wav-file and then just copy the text into your document.

Read Later Fast

If you need to read a lot of documents and pages online during you research, this app is for you. It lets you save pages to read them offline later. You can also choose to read the article as plain text or in the original view. You can add the articles to your personal archive to make sure you can find them even if they have been deleted from the website. The app is available in a number of languages, including English, German and Russian.

Quick Note

This app helps you to take notes online as well as store and search them afterwards. A useful tool if you don’t want to get distracted by searching for a sheet of paper while browsing.


Note-taking is even more fun with scribble which is a more sophisticated app. It will organise your notes on a virtual pinboard in a stylish way. You can create notifications and set reminders for your notes which will then appear on your desktop.

Using will let you share files up to 2 GB via Facebook, Twitter or email. All you need to do is upload the file and publish the link on the chosen channel. For example, the tool comes in handy if you need to quickly share an interview or a picture.


An extremely simple task management tool with a reduced design. You can create new tasks by clicking on the green “add” button and choose if the will be marked as important or set a concrete date. Deleting the task is even easier: you just click on the left square near the task and it’s gone. The app also works offline a helps you keep track of your current tasks.

History eraser

Research on the web also means you need to be able to cover up your tracks. This free app deletes typed URLs, cache, cookies and all your downloads. You can decide on the time period and delete either everything, or just the track of your activities for the last hour, day, week, month. Just don’t forget to save the stuff you will need later.

Task timer

A simple tool to keep track of the time you spend on different tasks online. Just type in a new task and, if necessary, set the date you are supposed to spend on it. You will then be notified when you have reached your limit. You can stop, reset and delete tasks. The app will show all your tasks as a pie diagram which can be an enormous motivator.


This simple text tool is for you if you get distracted by the numerous possibilities and functions of sophisticated text processing software. You will land on a black-and-white page with extremely reduced design which should help you concentrate on the text itself.

Alternatively, you could also use Quietwrite which doesn’t require the sign-in.

Lovely Charts

This is an easy to use app to visualize things, such as drawing diagrams, flowcharts or sitemaps using drag’n drop mechanism. You can then export your work as a png. or jpg. file. The tool is perfect for bloggers and freelancers.

Mind map

Mindmaps help you to structure your thoughts during a research and visualize connections between different ideas and tasks. The app doesn’t require a registration, so you can start drawing your map right away. You can then save it locally for later use, print or save as a picture.


This app will change your IP-address and will help you keep yourself anonymous during a hard-core research. After typing in the address you want to access, you will continue browsing through the NewIP page.


This browser extension will refresh your Google Reader feed and visualize it in an attractive and user-friendly way. It will automatically import feeds from your Google Reader. Separate feeds will be shown in a stream at the bottom of the page. You can open single posts by clicking on them. The posts you have read or scrolled through will change their color to grey so that you don’t have to return to them.

Google screen capture

An incredibly useful Chrome and Firefox extension for online journalists who spend time annotating screengrabs in Photoshop and other graphics packages.


Add this browser extension, right click on a picture or upload an image and you can find out where else it has been used. It is a valuable journalism tool to verify photographs.


ScribeFire allows you to blog from your browser, without opening the CMS or platform. You can post to platforms including WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, Windows Live Spaces, Tumblr, Posterous, Xanga, and LiveJournal. You can edit and update existing posts and also schedule posts for the future (if your blog allows that). You can also delete posts, save drafts, tag, categorize and upload images, and post to multiple blogs at once.


If you are a social media fan promoting your articles and communicating with your audience via social media, this app is for you. You can share posts and read your feed on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr and others from a single interface.

iPiccy Photo Editor

This simple photo editor doesn’t require registration and allows you to perform basic editing to prepare images for the web. You can either upload photos from your PC or from a URL or Facebook page, or just take a picture with your web cam. The app allows you to resize and crop images, rotate them and adjust colours. You can also apply different filters and add text to your image.

Alternatively, you can use Aviary Image Editor . It looks like a simplified Photoshop version and can even work with layers.


You can use Mappeo when covering regional stories. The app will show you geolocated videos from a particular area that have been published on YouTube.

First published by Deutsche Welle Akademie Asia

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