Onsite Helper Recommends The Best Google For Work Chrome Extensions & Apps
To improve the general work experience, Google created a wide range of Chrome apps & extensions. However, not all apps are a good fit for every company and certain apps are only a good fit for a certain level of clearance. So to make things easier for managers everywhere, we put together a list of all apps & extensions that may help you increase productivity at work.
Apps/extensions for Gmail
Since Gmail is one of the most popular email clients in the whole world, there are a plethora of apps available. Below we listed several that can help you work faster.
Boomerang for Gmail
Do you ever send emails outside business hours but don’t want your recipient to know what time you sent the email? This is a safe way to make sure your clients won’t expect email service outside business hours every single time. With Boomerang you can simply schedule when to send an email (perfect for when clients are on the other side of the world) and setup reminders right in browser. Honestly, it’s the perfect tool for someone who’s handling a multinational business.
You know that moment when you have to focus on a big task that may send you digging through historical emails (e.g creating a proposal)? In this case you don’t need any distractions and Inbox Pause allows you to pause your email. This way, when you do go back to receiving emails your task is completed and you can focus on new ones.
The app also pauses emails on your mobile devices so there will be even less chances of being distracted from email alerts. You also have the option to set an auto responder advising that you’re busy and not looking at emails for the next few hours.
This app is great for those long flights when you have the time to do some cleanup in your Inbox. You have access to the same Gmail interface and you can read, edit, delete, and pretty much do anything with the available emails. Once the app gets online, everything will synchronize.
Apps/extensions for documents
Even though we don’t really want to believe it, businesses and projects are based on documents. Regardless of the fact that you have to put together a presentation, work on a spreadsheet, or simply write something, everything will be saved as a type of document. So it would’ve been weird not to talk about apps and extensions that help you manage and work with documents.
Microsoft Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides
If you need to work with Microsoft Office files but you don’t want to install the entire Office suite, this is the extension for you. The Chrome extension allows you not only to open but also edit any Microsoft Office word files, excel or PowerPoint format and edit or view. Even more, you can keep them in Microsoft format without having to convert them to Google format.
This makes working with others who prefer to stick with Microsoft applications easier. You don’t need to change how they work and you can continue operating 100% in the browser. There’s no need to purchase Microsoft Office for every computer in your business now. This is also a great way to slowly move away from Microsoft Office and onto Google Docs & Sheets.
Google Drive Offline
Somehow connected to the app we discussed above, this one allows you to create, edit and view docs even when you are not connected to the Internet. It is a fantastic tool for those people who prefer to work 100% of their time with the browser and give up on big apps that only make the work more difficult. However, you should know that it only works with Google Docs, Sheets & Slides. PDF’s and other formats won’t be available with this feature so if you need these documents, it’s best to install Google Drive Sync tool which will sync everything in your ‘MY drive’ folder to your computer (unless you select specific folders to sync).
The setup is quite easy, and it only takes a few steps:
- Open Chrome (you must be signed in)
- Go to drive.google.com/drive/settings
- In the Offline section, check the box that says “Sync Google Docs, Sheets, Slides & Drawings files to this computer so that you can edit offline.”
Keep in mind: You must be connected to the Internet to turn on offline access and you can only turn on offline access for your entire Google Drive, not specific files.
If the apps and extensions we discussed up until now didn’t impress you, the ones below will definitely raise your interest! Take a look and learn which apps/extensions will do a better job at organizing your time and thoughts.
This is a fantastic app when it comes to internal communication with the staff. The app supports chat, calls, and video calls between two or more members so you can stop sending emails backwards and forwards when a chat session is much more efficient.
Hangouts can be added as a chrome extension and as a mobile phone App. This means it’s easily accessible and the communication inside and outside the office is simple and effective. A great feature is the fact that the chats get recorded to your Gmail inbox so you can easily find them in the event you closed your chat and need to find a previous conversation (e.g a colleague left you a message to call someone back and you need their phone number).
Do you have a big agenda with lots of post-its falling every time you open it? It’s time to move on to something less space consuming and way faster and efficient. The app allows users to add lists, memos, and even upload pictures in a few seconds. Even more, if you’re on the go, you can speak a memo and the app will transcribe it for you.
The best part is that you can invite other people on a specific list so you can work together.
The app is extremely easy to access from your computer browser either from the Apps menu (the one with 9 colored dots in your browser) or you can bookmark it. Even more, you can also install the app on your mobile device and share your thoughts wherever you are.
For example, it makes a great app to share with your partner – this way you can discuss mundane things like a weekly grocery list without having to be together.
You can find the app here.
Checker Plus for Google Calendar
Yap, Google Calendar is a fantastic app, but having to scroll in order to see your next events may be a bit too much for very busy people. The Checker Plus extension pulls data from the calendar and gives you notifications on upcoming events and meetings.
LastPass: Free Password Manager
We live in a world where everything is encoded and the password is the main key to our files and lives. So, if you want to make sure all your accounts are secured, you should only remember one password: the one to LastPass. This app will store all your usernames and passwords from the moment you first got online until you decide to retire.
You can also share your logins with your staff without worrying that the data may get intercepted. Instead of telling your staff what your usernames and passwords are for your cloud apps and website logins, you can simply share them from LastPass. When a member of your staff reaches a website that requires login, they will automatically be logged in without them knowing the credential. This is a huge time saver and even more so, a great security feature as you don’t need to worry about resetting all your passwords when an employee leave the business. This feature is only $12 per year.
You can find the extension here.
Other interesting apps/extensions
We covered all the basic apps that can make your work smoother. Now let’s see the ones that can make it interesting.
If you want to learn more about the apps we just discussed and discover more possibilities with Google for Work, then some training might be just the thing for you. The best part is that you can set which type of training to share with the team and which to keep for yourself.
The extension provides users with video training sessions that open directly in browser. Each video is short and very interesting, exciting people’s interest.
If you want to know more about Google Training and how to set it up, check out our blog post
Auto Text Expander for Google Chrome
Do you know when you write repetitive things in browser you get an auto-fill option? This is exactly what this extension does, but within Gmail, Docs and Chrome pages where you may enter text. This is a great way to increase productivity as you can have small auto text prompts like staff email addresses or long email templates ready to be used. For instance, you start typing in the first part helpdesk@ and it auto-expands to the full email address email@example.com.
The app allows you to get extra creative so you can improve your business’s efficiency as much as possible.
You may already know this extension as it is one of the most popular in the Google suite. It’s great for those times when you just need the information from a site, not the ads as well. Even more, it’s one of the first defenses against malware and online tracking.
Gestures for Google Chrome
Sadly the extension doesn’t interpret your own gestures and mimics, but you can use the mouse to draw them. The best part is that you won’t have to look for buttons, you just draw the gesture, and the action happens.
For instance, some of the most popular gestures are:
- Forwards and backwards by clicking and dragging in the direction you want (directional arrows)
- A backwards L shape means going back a page
- A regular L shape means close the current tab
Google Cast is a great extension for meetings when you have to present your project to the entire room. However, this requires the purchase of a Google Chromecast account which is $60. The Google Cast extension will cast your screen (desktop or mobile) to your Chromecast device so it can be displayed on a different screen. So the app goes great for business presentations (no more cables needed), watching fun videos on the big screen at home or even making a tutorial for your staff.
This is our list of apps & extension that may improve your general work experience. Before we end, we just want to remind you that, as a manager of the Google for Work account, OSH can create specific accounts for certain staff levels in your company. We can push certain apps on your employee and create special training sessions for them.
Our highly specialized team is available and will make sure to organise your online activity as smoothly as possible.