10 free, must-have Google Chrome apps and extensionsIf you haven’t tried Google’s impressive, app-friendly Chrome browser yet, you should—and when you do, make sure to try a few applications and feature-adding “extensions” from the Chrome Web Store. Read on for 10 of my favorites, from Angry Birds to offline Gmail.

1. Google Mail Checker
If you’re a Google user, chances are you’ve also got a Gmail account, and this handy Chrome extension sits at the top of your browser and pings you whenever a new message hits your Gmail inbox. Got a Yahoo or Hotmail account instead? Try X-notifier, a mail-checking extension that’ll appeal to more advanced users.

2. IM+
This free instant messaging app works with services like AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, MSN, Google Talk, and ICQ, and it’ll sound an alert whenever one of your buddies wants to chat. The app will also remember your IM logins, settings, and user preferences once you create a free IM+ account.

10 free, must-have Google Chrome apps and extensions

Amazon's Windowshop app for Chrome delivers an iPad-like browsing experience.

3. Amazon Windowshop
It’s the same, gorgeous-looking browsing experience as on Amazon’s Windowshop app for the iPad, except this time it’s been optimized for scrolling and clicking in Chrome.

4. Offline Google Mail, Google Docs, and Google Calendar
Worried about losing access to your Gmail and online Google documents if your Internet service konks out? This trio of Google apps will automatically sync your online messages, calendars, and recently-updated documents with your desktop for offline access, even if your modem goes haywire.

5. Facebook Notifications
You’ll know the moment someone “likes” one of your links or sends you a Facebook chat request with this Chrome extension on the case.

6. Evernote and Evernote Web Clipper
One of my favorite online and mobile note-taking apps also excels at “clipping” interesting content on the web. Just add Evernote’s Web Clipper extension to Chrome, and click the green button in the Chrome task bar whenever you stumble upon anything clip-worthy.

10 free, must-have Google Chrome apps and extensions

Nope, this isn't the usual, online look of The New York Times.

7. The New York Times
Nope, we’re not just talking a bookmark for the New York Times website. Instead, the New York Times app for Chrome delivers stories from the Gray Lady in a classic, newspaper-style format, complete with a choice of more than a dozen layouts.

8. Angry Birds
Yep, we’re talking the complete game here, all in your Chrome browser—and yes, it’s free.

9. Twitter Notifier
Get a steady, real-time stream (or torrent, depending on how many people you’re following) of alerts from your Twitter pals in the corner of your screen.

10. Google Voice
Signed up for a Google Voice phone number? If so, the Google Voice extension for Chrome will ding whenever you get a voice mail, and it’ll even give you a transcribed preview of your message directly from the Chrome task bar.

Got more apps and extensions you’d like to recommend to new Chrome users? Post ’em below!