John’s top 5 Chrome Web Store entries for music and video

Since receiving Google’s Cr-48 Chrome OS netbook two weeks ago (unboxing, impressions), I’ve spent a fair amount of my time with the device looking for the coolest extensions and web apps. Those you’ll find in the Chrome Web Store range from highly specific apps that are tailored for the Chrome browser on the Chrome OS to icons that are nothing but shortcuts to website apps that function in all browsers. Many simply point to a base domain. A lot have been around for years and are just turning up in the Web Store as recommendations. That doesn’t make them any less valuable or pertinent to users of Chrome OS or Chrome browser, and I’m including some oldies but goodies here. There is a vast library of great software to be sifted through and the sheer volume of entries presents its own problem.

I’m not claiming that these are the best web apps in the world, or even the best available in the Chrome Web Store. Of the CWS web apps I’ve tested, these are my faves for music and video, in no particular order.

1.) Mixcloud (Web Store link, corresponding nonessential download extension for non-downloadable streams)

As the video explains, Mixcloud isn’t about recycling broadcast radio standards that you hear 30 times a week on your way to and from work or school. It isn’t even about discovering obscure artists either, though that is one aspect of the site. Mixcloud allows people dedicated to creating high quality audio content–whether it be DJ mixes, a series of educational lectures, recordings of stand-up comedians, or tech-oriented podcasts–to share their creations with a socially connected community for easy sharing and for inclusion in user playlists. Sign up for the free Mixcloud and you can follow people with good taste and embed stream–that you can create–on your own website.

I’ve found some incredible tracks that I wouldn’t have had I not started using Mixcloud, and that’s why I’ve put this website on the list. But if you really want to listen to that top 40 hit again or need to relive the magic of NPR’s All Things Considered, those options are available as well. The pop-up window control interface leaves plenty to be desired, but the crooked beats, circuit-bent toy blurps and spacey lead synths that are flowing through my veins as I type this more than make up for Mixcloud’s weak spots.

2.) Audiotool (Web Store link)

Listening to and creating playlists of other people’s tracks can be great fun but some folks need to dig deeper, either creating their own music or remixing someone else’s. Audiotool allows you to manipulate virtual instruments, effects, and other modules like a mixer, to create your own tunes. You can drag and drop looped wav samples into a timeline for a traditional loop-based computer production or you can patch together modules like a TR-808 or 909 for old school step sequencing with filters and effects.

The end product is pretty amazing and resource hungry. I prefer running audiotool on my MacBook Pro and still run into performance issues when I really get things moving, such as was the case when I fired up screencast software to capture a composition. This web app does run on the Cr-48 however, and offers up a great way to kill time on the bus if you just want to throw together some beats and a bassline. Audio tool has been on the web for a couple of years now, but like I said in the intro, any web app that runs under Chrome OS is fair game for this post.

For those who like to participate but don’t have the skills to create a track from scratch or who simply prefer to reinterpret, Audiotool offers up tracks by others for remixing as well as templates for a jumpstart on your slammin’ track. Follow your favorite peeps, twist their tunes and bend their beats to your will, or upload your own dirt for others to play with. Check it:

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