Compared with Words large Ribbon interface, Google Docs feels quite minimalistic. Still, sometimes even a slim toolbar can be distracting. Writer is a Chrome extension (inspired by Writeroom for Mac) designed to provide a simple, clean, distraction-free writing environment; its just a black screen with monospaced text and a word count at the bottom. You don't have to worry about saving your documents: Writer will do that for you, automatically. You don't have to open an account, and you don't have to configure anything. Just write.
If you do want to customize the font or open a permanent user account, Writer will let you. But for those times when you just want to get some text down with a minimum of button-clicking and distraction, Writer is an excellent (and free) tool.
So I've covered traditional word processing with Google Docs, and long-form distraction-free writing with Writer. But there's one more type of writing we all do. Call it scribbling -- making little notes throughout the day, jotting down things we don't want to forget or recording details from a phone call. For times like these, Google's Scratchpad extension is ideal.
When you click the Scratchpad icon, it opens a tiny window, not unlike a sticky note. You can then start a new note and jot down whatever is on your mind -- your note is saved automatically, and you can easily tell Scratchpad to synchronize with Google Docs so that you have access to your notes from anywhere. Scratchpad also makes creating multiple notes and searching their titles simple. I do wish that it supported the / keyboard shortcut for quickly selecting the text field, though.
Email: Gmail Offline and Outlook Notifier
If you're used to working with a desktop mail client like Outlook, switching to a webmail client such as Gmail or Outlook.com may prove to be a bit jarring. Both are capable Web apps, but you still may experience slight delays from time to time when using them. One intriguing alternative is to use Gmail Offline; this Chrome extension puts a completely different face on Gmail, making it more akin to the tablet version of the service than to the Web-based one.