Useful android apps - Google apps, App backup and restore and Greenify

Hello everyone. I hope you have read my recent articles - Android 5 Hands on & Google Inbox Hands on

Most of my friends are having Android phone with Jellybean and above. Still I felt that some of them are not using the power of in built android apps. Some of these apps are really productive. Today my attempt is to create awareness of the apps available in your phone.

1) Google Now

Those who have 4.1 and above can enjoy this app. This is upgraded version of Google search and known as Google Now. As the name indicates, it shows the right information at the right time. Here are few of them

Time to commute – it shows time to office and time to home based on your location with real time traffic. You just need to set home and office address in the settings.

Football (Soccer) / Cricket updates – Add your favorite soccer or and cricket teams and receive updates about match schedule and live scores

Parking location – This works if you have selected “driving” as mode of commute. Map of your last parked location will be shown

Track your purchase or Flight – Your flight details and time to reach the airport will be there at the right time. Also you will get notification about your purchase once it is out for delivery.

Related news – You will receive news update about the topics that you have searched using Google.

Weather updates, Currency updates (if you travel to different time zone) etc

OK Google – Google Now can also act as your assistant. Just say “OK Google” and it will be in listening mode. You can dial contacts, message them, write emails, navigate to location, create reminder etc. Also it can understand Indian accent (even my accent) and works like a charm. Have a look at the voice commands –

All notifications are customizable through settings

2) Google Drive

This is cloud storage offered by Google: - 5 GB initially and it may increase based on usage (I have 15 GB now). You can store your file and share with friends.
So what!! There are plenty of apps with same capability – Drop box, Box etc. There are few other unique features of Google Drive. Let’s check out

New Doc, Spreadsheet and Slides – You can create a new doc, excel or PowerPoint without even installing Microsoft Office (Google bought QuickOffice and it is available inbuilt in most of Android phones). Multiple people can edit and review the document at the same time.

Convert to PDF – Saving document as PDF is available in for latest versions of Microsoft Word. But I can do the same by just copying the doc file to my Google Drive and clicking link “share and export”.

This feature helped my cousin who was doing a project. She had a doc with Sanskrit font created in some other PC and she wanted urgent copy. But I am using Word 2002 and junk characters were shown instead of Sanskrit. I tried to download the font and it they were asking for money. Finally I used the trick… Copy to Drive and export to PDF!!!

Open using MS Word 2002

Open using Google Drive

Scan documents – Let’s say you want to save copy of a bill as reference or send driving license soft copy to someone. You can use Google Drive without going to DTP center or downloading “Scanning” apps.

Click on Scan button and take a picture of the object and it will be saved as PDF (Note that this document can be searched based on the content)

3) Google Photos

This is another inbuilt app in phones with stock android and it can act as your Gallery. You may have used picasa to upload and share photos and it is not available anymore. Photo sharing functionalities are merged into Google+ and now it is available as a separate app. It is not just gallery. You can also create photo collage, video or animated GIF from the photos

Photo stories

A small photo album will be created from the photos uploaded in Google+. It will be arranged beautifully based on location and date with small narration. You can share these stories through number of media – SMS, WhatsApp, Google+, and Hangouts etc

4) Google Keep

This is handy if you use sticky notes every day. Interface is very simple and will give the same feel. You can create quick note, detailed list and set reminders against each note.

Let’s say you want to purchase grocery in the evening. Just add the list of items that needed to buy and set reminder. It can remind you based on time or location (It will remind exactly when you reach the store)

5) Google Chrome

I have written detailed review about Chrome desktop version in 2012. Almost all of them apply to the mobile version also. Have a look –

6) App Backup and Restore

Internet is costly in India and you will be wasting your bandwidth if you have to download the app from Play Store every time you change your phone. Instead, you can save all your apps as .APK file and save to external memory or laptop.

This app will help you to backup your apps and restore them back. Also you can share the app with your friends via Bluetooth since android has no restriction like iPhone J

7) Greenify

This app is for users who have SUPERUSER permission (rooted devices). This will help you to hibernate resource hungry apps – Facebook, Whatsapp, Dropbox etc and save battery. I am getting 30% more battery life in Nexus 4 after using Greenify. This is very useful for phones with less RAM since social networking apps will always run in the background and use your RAM.

Sometimes our phone is much useful than our laptop since we don’t receive updates from manufacturer without paying them. But android phone will get automatic updates no matter of the price or specification of the phone.  

That was quick tips about some of the Android apps. Hope these tips have helped you to know them better. If you like some other feature please let me know. Don’t hesitate to comment or click +1 button. It always helps!!!

Thanks for reading…. Take care!!