15 cool apps from the Google Applications Gallery

Google App Engine enjoyed its first anniversary Tuesday, so we take a look at 15 apps from the company's Application Gallery that are worth trying out.

Google's App Engine , which lets developers run their Web apps on Google's infrastructure, enjoyed its one-year anniversary Tuesday. To mark the occasion, let's take a look at 15 applications from the company's Applications Gallery. (All of the apps are ordered by the category listing on the Applications Gallery.)

Web Tools

PrintWhatYouLike: Instead of printing out an entire Web page, PrintWhatYouLike lets you remove elements from the page that you don't want to print, set the page to a particular width, or print specific areas of a site. Even though I found this utility last night, I've used it multiple times already. It's a great tool.

URLMetrix: URLMetrix fills you in on SEO information about your site. From your Compete.com rankings to the number of Google backlinks related to your site, you'll find it all in a matter of seconds after inputting your site's URL into the URLMetrix search field. It's simple and useful.

Communication

TaPingYa
TaPingYa brings chatting to the App gallery. Don Reisinger/CNET

TaPingYa: TaPingYa is a full-featured communication platform that lets you create a chat room to talk it up with friends. The service also boasts a Twitter-like micro-blog and a place to work with team members on a project. You can even keep a private journal.

TwitExplorer: TwitExplorer features a four-column design that lets you look up Twitter users, view their followers, see their posts, and most importantly, find others worth following. You can follow anyone directly from the site. You can also view your Twitter timeline. It's not a pretty app, but it works well.

Games

Arkanoid: If you want to control a paddle moving laterally across the screen to hit a ball into blocks, Arkanoid is for you. This type of game is available all over the Web, but Arkanoid throws in different block designs to add some flavor to it. I spent an hour playing the game. Definitely try it out.

Conquer on Contact
Conquer on Contact: simple, but fun. Don Reisinger/CNET

Conquer on Contact: It might take some time to get used to playing Conquer on Contact, but once you figure it out, you'll be hooked. The game makes you an military commander who needs to conquer up to eight armies on the board, which are controlled by other players around the world. If you win a battle against the foe, your army will grow. If you lose, you need to restart the game. It's simple, it's fun, it's addicting.

Text Based Adventure: It's a little "old school," but Text Based Adventure is actually quite fun. It starts out giving you a storyline, offering you four options to move the story forward. Choose one and move on to the next page, which features even more options. I played through the story a few times. Each time, the ending was different. It's worth trying out if you want to waste some time.

Finance

Loan Amortization Calculator: Loan Amortization Calculator will figure out how much a monthly payment on a loan will be. It displays your full payment, the amount that will be attributed to principal, and the amount of interest you'll pay. It even displays graphs showing all that information over the life of the loan. It's a simple tool, but it's worth trying out.

Sports

Fitness Chart: It's a little bare-bones, but Fitness Chart lets you monitor your weight, body fat, and progress as you workout. When you first sign up, the site requires you to input your weight and body fat percentage. Each day you do that, it plots a point on a graph. Over time, you'll be able to see, visually, how your fitness training is going.

Lifestyle

Chartle
Chartle lets you create quick graphs. Don Reisinger/CNET

Bookdope: If you want to find out about all the best books currently on store shelves or if you want to peruse the New York Times Bestsellers list, Bookdope will let you do it. You can click on any book, read a brief preview, and see who commented on it in Facebook with the help of its Facebook Connect integration. It even has a link directing you to the book's page on Amazon.

JeeyO: If you're looking to carpool with someone, see JeeyO will help. The site lets you connect with others around any area in the U.S. and set a time to ride with them to an event. So far, the company claims it has saved users 255 liters of fuel.

Life Log: Life Log is a personal journal that allows you to catalog your life. You input what you're doing at any given moment and assign tags for future inspection. It's a neat utility that's worth keeping up-to-date and will be worth checking out years from now -- if it's still up and running.

Technology

ATopical: The earch engine ATopical features two search boxes -- one for your desired search keyword and another asking which topic area you want to search in. So, if you put "Webware" into the keyword search field and "tech news" in the second search field, ATopical will automatically search Google for all instances of Webware mentioned with tech news. It's not Google Search, but it might be useful for some.

Next Page: Next Page makes it easy to switch between sites you read on a regular basis. For example, if you read Webware and CNET Reviews each day, you can click the Webware bookmark in your browser. Once you're done reading all the stories, you can click the "Next Page" link added to your browser's toolbar, and it will automatically bring you to the next site -- in this case, CNET Reviews -- you cataloged with Next Page. It makes switching between your favorite sites somewhat easier.

Enterprise

Chartle: Chartle is a well-designed service that lets you create bar graphs, pie charts, and line graphs. Just add data, pick your graph type, and Chartle will take care of the rest. It's a great tool.

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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