With so many apps available in app stores it can be a bit overwhelming if you’re looking for cool new stuff. Google, of course, make many of the apps that we all use daily. From Gmail to Google Pictures, Google apps tend to be big and, well, noticeable. But hidden amongst all those apps are a few Google apps that we think you might not have heard of. And if you’re looking for innovative, useful, and trustworthy, then you could do a lot worse than checking out some of these awesome secret Google apps. You might find yourself solving problems that you didn’t even know that you had…
It’s kind of surprising that Google Fit isn’t better known, particularly since it’s highly useful and very integrated as well. Basically, Google Fit keeps track of all your health and fitness needs. It clocks your steps, you can plug in diet and weight loss info, it’ll make use of that heart rate monitor on your phone (if you have one), and it also feeds in info from other apps that you have (like RunKeeper, for example). This is the epitome of an all in one fitness app. You can look at past statistics, make graphs, and all kinds of neat little features. If health and fitness is your thing, then downloading Google Fit should really be a no brainer.
Got a bunch of old pictures lying around and don’t know what to do with them? Or like to keep scans of your receipts for expenses perhaps? PhotoScan is Google’s mobile scanner, and it’s pretty sweet (not to mention free as well). Place whatever you want to scan on a flat surface, open the app and hold your phone over the item and follow the instructions on screen. The app will basically take tons of pics and stitch them all together as well as enhancing the image (eliminating glare that you’d get by simply taking a picture of the item), and then you’ll get a digital copy of whatever you want. A copy that’s handily backed up automatically to your Google Pictures account too. Okay, it’s not quite as good as a plugged in, high end dedicated scanner, but it’s still pretty good and convenient too.
Google Opinion Rewards
Again, we’re kind of surprised that more people don’t know about Google’s Opinion Rewards app, especially since it pretty much gives you free money. The idea is simple. Download the app, hook it up to your Google Play account (which you should already have if you’ve got an Android phone), and then check in periodically for new surveys. The app lets you complete surveys, rate things, and give your opinion about all kinds of stuff, from dog foods to new games, and then rewards you with Google Play credit, which you can then use to buy games, music, books and other stuff from the Play Store. We’re talking pennies rather than pounds here, but it all adds up over time, and surveys are short and easy to complete.
Looking for a decent photo editing app that doesn’t require a degree in graphic design to use? Then Snapseed is designed for you. It’s a good enough editing app that lets you do some pretty cool stuff using a very simple interface. You can enhance faces, balance colours, change perspectives, crop and rotate images, and plenty more, all done in seconds. Snapseed isn’t going to satisfy the professionals, but for the casual photographer it’s perfect. Plus, it’s free, which makes it a great download if you’re not photo editing every day and don’t want to pay high prices for premium editing apps.
The simply named Wallpapers does pretty much what you’d expect: it gives you wallpapers to use for your phone. There’s no catch here (and no ads either), all images are high resolution and all are free. The collection is huge, and the satellite earth images are especially impressive. Okay, so you might not use this app every day, but if you’re looking for new pics for your phone then Wallpapers is quick, easy, free and has tons of choices.
This app isn’t for everyone, but it can come in very handy indeed. Trusted contacts lets your phone share your location with, well, your trusted contacts, as well as letting you access their location. This is perfect if you’ve got kids, since you’ll always know where they are, and it’s pretty handy if you’re not great with directions and need to find your friend at a pub or football match. In basic mode the app will send you a message when a friend requests your location and you have five minutes to decide to share or refuse the info. But there are other settings that let you constantly update locations with certain people if you so choose. A must have for parents, and useful for anyone with no sense of direction…
Google Trips is the grand-daddy of travel apps, and lets you do pretty much everything in one place. The app stores flight info, as well as hotel, attractions, car rental, train/boat/helicopter/whatever info all in one place. It lets you plan your days completely, and provides handy maps to help you find things, and gives recommendations as well (for food or things to see). Even better, once your trip is in the process of being planned the app also downloads everything for offline use, meaning you won’t need to run up a data bill when you’re abroad. If you like travelling and you like convenience then Google Trips is essential.
We do need to give honourable mentions to two apps, both of which are pretty specific and might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Chrome Remote Desktop is an app (and a browser extension on your PC) that allows you remote access to your computer from your phone no matter where you are. You never know when that might come in useful. And secondly, YouTube Kids is a specifically designed version of YouTube just for smaller children, which lets you hand your phone over for them to watch a video without needing to worry about them accessing inappropriate content. Again, pretty handy if you need to entertain a little one…