Jason R. Rich is a consumer electronics expert who hosts the Featured App of the Week podcast and contributes articles to many publications.
All of the apps featured are available from the App Store, if you’re an iPhone or iPad user. Many of the Google apps featured also either come preinstalled on all-Android-based mobile devices, or can be downloaded and installed for free from the Google Play Store.
Keep in mind, to take full advantage of the majority of the different Google apps, you’ll need to up a free Google Account. However, regardless of how many Google apps you use on your various computers and mobile devices, you only need one Google Account.
A Google Account includes free access to the online-based Google Drive and Google Photos services, which are used to backup, sync, archive, and share Google app-related data, documents, files, and photos. You can manage your cloud-based Google Drive account using the Google Drive mobile app, or access and manage digital photos stored online within your Google Photos account using the Google Photos app.
If you’re an iPhone or iPad user, keep in mind that Google Drive is a different service from Apple’s iCloud cloud-based file sharing service, and Google Photos is different from Apple’s iCloud Photos, although the services are similar in their functionality.
Many people know Google as the company which operates Google.com - world’s most popular Internet search engine, which you can access from any web browser by visiting www.Google.com.
However, one of the post popular web browsers for Windows PC and Macs is called Google Chrome. A mobile version of the Google Chrome web browser is available for all iOS and Android-based smartphones and tablets. This is an alternate web browser option for the iPhone and iPad, which comes with the Safari web browser installed, for example.
In addition to the Chrome web browser, the separate Google app for smartphones and tablets allows you to look up just about anything on the Internet by typing your request in the app’s Search field. You can also speak your request or question using the Google app’s built-in Google Assistant.
Another way to interact with the app is with its built-in Google Lens feature. Using Lens, you’re able to point the smartphone or tablet’s rear-facing camera at any object, product, or location, and the app will tell you what you’re looking at after accessing the Internet to look up relevant information.
Google also owns and operates the world’s largest online-based video on-demand service, called YouTube. To watch free YouTube content on an unlimited basis from your Internet-connected smartphone or tablet, you’ll need to use the YouTube mobile app.
Once the YouTube app is installed on your mobile device, within the app’s Search field, you can type any question about how to do something, and then watch an on-demand video that’ll answer your question.
YouTube offers all sorts of entertaining, informative, educational, and how-to videos about just about every topic you can imagine. For example, if you have a printer that needs it’s ink cartridge replaced, and you don’t know how to do this, within the Search field of Google’s YouTube app, simply type “How do I change the ink cartridge of my,” and then insert the exact make and model of your printer.
At least one how-to video will be available that explains exactly how to complete this task by following a simple-step-by-step process. As you’re watching any YouTube video, you’re able to play, pause, fast forward, or rewind the video, and re-watch the same video as many times as you’d like, all for free, as long as your mobile device has Internet access.
When visiting the App Store or Google Play Store, when you enter the search word “Google” into the Search field, you’ll discover many other smartphone and tablet apps developed by Google.
Three of these business-related apps include: Docs, which is a full-featured word processor, Sheets, which is a powerful spreadsheet manager, and Slides, which is a digital slide presentation tool that’s similar to Microsoft PowerPoint.
While Docs is different from Microsoft Word, for example, the two apps offer document compatibility. The same is true for Sheets and Microsoft Excel, as well as Slides and PowerPoint.
If you have a Gmail email account, or you want to create one and manage it from your smartphone or tablet for free, be sure to install the Gmail app onto your mobile device. It can be used instead of the Mail app that comes preinstalled on your smartphone or tablet.
Meanwhile, anytime you’re traveling abroad to a country where the locals don’t speak your native language, one of the most useful tools at your disposal is called Google Translate. It allows you to translate between any two languages of your choice in real-time.
Using Translate, you can type a word or phrase into the Translate field to have it translated almost instantly. When your mobile device has Internet access, you can also tap on the microphone icon within the Translate app, and then start speaking in your native language. The app will almost instantly translate what you say into the language of your choice. The translation will be displayed in the screen and spoken by the app’s digital voice.
Using this feature of the Translate app, you can have an almost real-time, face-to-face conversation with just about anyone, even if you don’t speak or understand the language spoken by the other person.
By taking advantage of the rear-facing camera built into your smartphone or tablet, with the Translate app, you can also point the camera at any sign or printed material, such as a restaurant menu that displays text in another language.
Within seconds, the Translate app will translate the printed text to the language of your choice and display the translation on your smartphone or tablet’s screen. It’s a must-have app for international travelers.
To help you navigate around almost any location in the world, the Google Maps app is a full-featured and very powerful GPS navigation tool that can be used when driving, walking, or taking public transportation.
In addition to offering real-time, turn-by-turn navigation to help you get from one location to another, the Google Maps app offers real-time traffic information, and includes public transportation routes and schedules, along with the ability to look up information about points of interest or businesses, for example.
If you want to communicate with other people using Internet-based voice or video calling, the Google Voice and separate Google Hangouts apps are available.
To save money on your cellular phone service bill, and be able to make and receive calls and text messages almost anywhere in the world, check out the Google Fi cellular service. That’s “Google F I.” It’s compatible with almost any smartphone. The monthly fee includes voice calling, texting, and cellular data connectivity, and plans range in price from $20.00 to $70.00 per month.
To help you stay organized and on schedule, the Google Tasks app is a versatile to-do list manager, while the Google Calendar app will help you manage your daily agenda.
If you want to stay up-to-date on the latest news, the Google News app allows you to create a personalized newsfeed, so the articles and news stories you can see, read, or hear will all be tailored specifically to your unique interests, yet come from a wide range of reputable news sources, content creators, and publications.
When it comes to viewing, managing, editing, syncing, printing, and sharing digital photos from your mobile device, the Google Photos app integrates seamlessly with the Google Photos cloud-based service.
What’s great about these and other Google apps is that app-specific data, documents, files, and photos can be set up to automatically sync between all of your Windows PCs and/or Mac computers, as well as all of your own mobile devices. It’s also possible to share app-specific data, documents, files, or photos with specific other people of your choice.
On a regular basis, Google updates each of its apps to expand their capabilities and enhance their security and privacy features, so it’s important that you keep all of your mobile apps up to date.
What you’ll discover is that the Google apps are all well-designed, powerful, and most are very easy to use. Another appealing thing about the Google apps is they’re all available for free. There are no in-app purchases or paid subscriptions required to take full advantage of any Google apps.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Jason R Rich