When we consider Google Applications and Services, there are many familiar names that spring to mind: Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Keep, Music and Chrome come to mind. However, Google have many, many applications available via the Google Play Store for our Android devices. Here are ten that you might not heard of, which I have loosely grouped into educational, fun and security.
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I’ll write about the educational applications first, starting with Primer, which was launched last October. Primer is designed to help fledgling startup businesses market online and includes five-minute lessons containing content such as marketing, gaining and managing media coverage and working with search engines. It also offers quizzes and case studies to help users understand “big picture strategies” and to reduce the frustration associated with online marketing.
The next educational application is Google Classroom, which is available to organizations with an active Google Apps for Education account. It’s designed as a sort of social network to allow students and tutors to work with a centralized paperless service, sharing and discussing assignments and resources. I will also include Google Field Trip into this category, which is about discovering interesting facts about places you travel to. Field Trip runs in the background and pops up a card containing information when you are close to an interesting location.
I’m also putting Google’s Intersection Explorer into the educational category; this application is designed to help customers with impaired vision and verbalizes the layout of streets and intersections in towns and cities, based on where your finger is on the screen.
For the security side of things, Google published the Google Authenticator, which generates two-step verification codes on your ‘phone, designed to help prevent undesirables from breaking into your Gmail account. The Google Authenticator covers a number of services and third party applications including file-hosting services and password managers.
For fun and entertainment, I need to mention Ingress, Google’s GPS-enabled, augmented reality, multiplayer role playing game that’s based around players creating portals at public places such as monuments and landmarks. It transforms the ordinary world around us into a science fiction mystery game and because it runs the location services on our devices, it’s tough on batteries! The next entry in the fun list is the Google Big Web Quiz for Chromecast is kinder on our devices and lets friends and families host a web quiz using a Chromecast dongle, based on Google’s Knowledge Graph (and the questions are beamed to your television screen).
I’ll include the Google Gesture Search and Photo Sphere Camera applications in the fun list, which is a way of allowing us to search our devices (for applications, contacts, bookmarks and settings) by drawing numbers or letters on the screen with our fingers. The Photo Sphere Camera is an application available on the Apple App Store for our iPhone-toting buddies, which allows users to create 360-degree, high resolution panoramas and publish them to Google Maps.
Did you know that Google will pay you for your opinion? If you download and install the Google Opinion Rewards application, you’ll periodically be asked to answer questions and are paid for these. The surveys vary and you can be asked about where you have been, your carrier, the applications you use as well as your preferences about non-related items. Google’s rewards can be redeemed on Google Play for applications, music, films… anything you’d like.
After reading through this list, are there any applications that you’ll be giving a go on your Android device (apart from the Photo Sphere Camera, unless you’re using an iPhone)? Let us know in the comments below, then later on come back and tell us how you found it.