Google is an essential part of almost all our lives. We use it to find almost all the answers to our questions, Android user use Google’s Play Store to download apps. Google themselves have a lot of apps, and here are five of them that you may not even have known existed.
The point of Hands Free is to be able to make in store payments without having to reach for your smartphone or credit card. When you get to the register all you have to do is say, “I’ll pay with Google” to the cashier. The cashier will then confirm your identity and your purchase is processed and details are sent to your phone. It seems really simple and hassle free unfortunately it’s only available at select stores in Silicon Valley.
Google Express is similar to Amazon in the way that you can order practically anything from any where an have it shipped straight to your house, but instead of buying things from unknown people you buy from big retailers like Target and Costco. One cool feature about Express is that you can get same day delivery starting at just $4.99, or for free if have a membership which cost $95 a year or $10 per month. Also new users get free shipping for the first three months. So that’s a few dollars less then Amazon Prime, you get the satisfaction of knowing that your buying form a trusted retailer, and you get same day shipping. The only downside is that there’s only about 29 stores right now. Hopefully that will expand to more soon. Also I haven’t been able to use the service itself since it isn’t available in my area. If you are able to use the service then please let me know how well it works in the comments below.
Google Spotlight Stories
Google Spotlight Stories is an app where you can watch visual books, which I suppose you’d call a movie. These “movies” aren’t very long however. The first one that I watched was about 5 minutes. The twist though is that you can watch these stories in 360 degrees, so you can focus in on a specific character or take it all in. The first time I watched one of the stories I used my Google Cardboard headset, and it was very immersive, but I could actually see the pixels. After it was done only then did I realize that I wasn’t supposed to be wearing the VR headset because there wasn’t the line down the middle of the screen to separate the two frames that should have been there. It was just one big frame in 360 degrees. I am a little disappointed that you can’t use a VR headset to watch these stories, but regardless it’s still cool.
- Who’s Down is another one of Google’s attempts at a successful social network, and as you can see it obviously is not successful or well known or else it wouldn’t be on this list. The premise of the app is actually quite simple. You post ideas of things that your “down for” and your friends who are following you will get a notification and they can like the idea if their interested. Who’s Down actually seems like a really good party planning app. Unfortunately it hasn’t really taken off, and the fact that it’s invite only for the time being doesn’t really help.
Price: Free Google Play Store
Voice Access made it’s debut back at Google I/O 2016. It was said to come preinstalled with Android 7.0 Nougat. Sadly I cannot confirm that, but if anyone else can let me know. A while back though it came to the Google Play Store, and the Play store only. Sorry iPhone users. This app is aimed towards people with disabilities. Like people who may not be able to interact with their smartphone’s touchscreen all that well. When it’s activated you can tell you phone to interact with whatever is on the screen your currently on. Like if the YouTube icon is on the screen you can say, “YouTube” to open the app, or if that doesn’t work each actionable thing is assigned a number, and all you have to do is say the number the corresponds with the action or thing you want to do. You can even tell it to open the recent apps screen and clear all recent apps (if your lucky enough to have a “clear all” button) which Google Now by itself can’t do. I say “Google Now by itself” because Google Now and Voice Access are somewhat interlinked. Like you can use Google Now to start Voice Access hands free. The only problem with this app is it’s not available on iOS, but I don’t think that’s Google’s fault. Chances are it’s just because of the nature of how iOS works. Also this app is in the Early Access portion of the Google Play Store and it does say (unreleased) in the app title, so there may be bugs although I didn’t experience any issues while using it.
So here were five pretty cool Google apps that you may not have heard about, and you can check them out in their respective app stores. Let me know if you find any other cool unknown Google apps, or any app for that matter, and I might feature it in another article.