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Determine Whether an App is Worth Your Money in 1 Minute or Less

Determine Whether an App is Worth Your Money in 1 Minute or Less

With more than 1 million apps available in the App Store, it can be difficult to decide what’s worth your money and what you can live without. Although $1.99 might not feel like a risky investment, those periodic impulse downloads can add up. Just consider the fact that 80 to 90 percent of all apps are eventually deleted.

Luckily, there are a few universal indicators of a great app versus a glitchy mess.

Quick: Your phone is dying, and you have about a minute to decide whether or not to download the app before you leave that Wi-Fi hotspot. A quick evaluation of any one of these factors can give you better insight into the true value of the app, but all of them together paint a clearer picture that ensures you’re getting your money’s worth.

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1. Cost

If an app costs money, look for a free version first. Lots of apps offer a “lite” version that allows you to try out key features to determine whether an app fits your lifestyle.

The only time you should pay for an app is when you absolutely need the features the paid version offers and you’re familiar with the company making it.

2. Reviews

Don’t just look at the average star rating. Take in the whole package. The more reviews an app has, the more likely the aggregate rating is accurate. Read a few of the actual comments in the reviews. Are the most critical reviews about quality, reliability, or something else? An app could have a negative rating just because of an iOS or Android issue that’s already been resolved in a recent update.

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3. History

If you haven’t heard of a company, check out its website. As software companies gain experience and grow, they accumulate large catalogs of apps and games. How has their other software held up? Do they make regular updates to their apps? If a company has a track record of building good apps, it’s a strong bet that its next app will retain that level of quality.

4. Utility

Apps can drain your battery, even when your smartphone or tablet is asleep. When you fill your device with apps you never use, you have less space for pictures, videos, and music. It also slows your phone down considerably.

Before you buy an app, make sure it’s one you will use regularly. I use a little app called Genius Scan. It’s a very simple program that saves scans of documents as PDFs, which is very handy on the go. I started using the free version and then upgraded to the paid version, which allowed me to upload PDFs to the cloud. It’s incredibly simple, but the $3.99 I paid saved me the cost of buying a scanner.

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5. Privacy

Many apps ask you to log in with your Facebook or Twitter account. Use caution when doing this. It’s not worth exposing your personal information to a company simply to unlock another level in a game. Many games and apps ask for more access than they need and, once they have your information, it’s theirs forever.

If you’re uncomfortable with the access an app you’re downloading is asking for, don’t allow it. If it’s a necessary permission, you can always enable it later. Treat your personal information (including social media accounts) just like your Social Security number. Keep it safe.

With so many apps to choose from, it’s tempting to download a bunch on impulse just because they seem cool. But just because your friends are buzzing about an app doesn’t mean you need it on your phone. Listen to their recommendations, but also factor in user reviews and your own research. In the end, it’s not really about the $1.99 you pay–it’s about the valuable home screen real estate you’re giving up and the privacy you could be sacrificing.

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Featured photo credit: Photo of an iPhone 5C/ Dedi Grigoroiu via shutterstock.com

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Published on September 20, 2018

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

Minimizing Tabs

Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

Incognito Mode

Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

Save Webpages as PDF Files

Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

Open Recently-closed Tabs

Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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Solve Mathematical Problems

Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

Play Media Files

Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

Stay Focus(e)d

Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

Grammarly for Editing

Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

Loom

There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

Chrome Calendar Extension

No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

Final Thoughts

Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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