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There is more to Google, than meets the eye

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google_apps_logoYou probably know that one of the best Android internet browsers, Chrome, was actually developed by Google. There is probably no need to mention the search engine, YouTube, which is also owned by Google, is also widely known. I will take a wild guess and expect you to know about Google Earth, the image cartography of the whole Earth, partly even in 3D imagery. Additionally, I would expect you to know about the Google mail service and the Google Drive, their cloud service. The Google Calendar is mostly pre-installed in every Android device. You may have already used the only viable map app, Google Maps, there is nothing like it, with the add-on Google Street View.

But there are also other Google Apps that are not so popular, or rather, people for some reason do not use them. Nevertheless, these apps are excellent and do warrant a closer inspection. Did you ever hear about Google Currents, an application that is pretty similar to the Flipbook, but perhaps even better? (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.currents) In the glossy magazine-like interface you can read and review all your favourite magazines and newsfeeds in high quality.

Another one of such hidden Google gems is Google Goggles. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.unveil) Originally developed as a QR code scanner, this app has become more than a simple sideliner. With it you can scan barcodes and get product info. You can point them towards famous landmarks and receive info about that particular place. You can instantly translate a foreign language text, such as a menu in a French restaurant, and have translated text right there. It can even OCR texts for you, recognize famous paintings, CDs, DVDs, books, even advise on similar products. This is definitely an applications worth having, if you do not have it already.

Just like the already mentioned Polaris Office, Google QuickOffice allow you to edit and view MS Office documents and PDF files. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.quickoffice.android) The big plus is that you can load them up on Google Drive and edit them there, from where you can also easily email it per Gmail. While it is not as extensive as Polaris Office the integration with other Google services makes it worth your while.

Get the Latest Android Apps

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Get the latest android apps and games from this site:

http://www.appbrain.com/

Is paying for applications still an issue?

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app_developmentIf mobile apps like the BlackBerry Messenger, Facebook and Twitter are free, if Games like Plants vs. Zombies 2, Angry Birds and Where’s My Water 2 are being offered at no cost at all, why are there developers who want to ask good money for their apps, although their popularity is nowhere near the aforementioned group? Do people really want to pay for mobile apps nowadays, or are they rather inclined to install free versions, even with ads?

Frankly speaking, paying for apps is not something you easily do. You have to pay for most of the services, including mobile phone services and content streaming services, stuff you really want and are prepared to pay for. If you can have first class apps and games for free, why would you pay for an application or game if you can get entertained otherwise for free? There is apparently no reason to end up paying for any kind of software, if there is some other software doing the same for free.

Adding to this whole problem is the obvious availability of APK installations online, where you can download installations of otherwise paid software and games for free. Mind you, these downloads are mostly not legal, but on the other hand, much of the software and even games, not to speak about content are location locked and people in other countries cannot get them even if they would pay for them. So existence of such downloads is understandable, but that does not make it legal.  You can get more information on paying for apps on www.mobileappex.com.

In any case, in future, it is really not recommended that some software or game developer for mobile platforms expects to earn a lot of money by having clients pay for their app or game straight out. Much better results have been achieved by ad financed stuff, where ads are somewhat annoying, but not annoying enough to make you pay for the same program or game, just to have the ads removed. The version where you have to pay for content to improve the gameplay, like in some shooters, where you can purchase additional ammo and better guns, did not take off at all. So, it comes down to ad financed income for all game and app providers, which they should embrace, like the most popular providers have already established.

Social Networking, Anyone?

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social-media-appsYes, everybody is already on Facebook, following plenty of people tweeting on Twitter, some people still hold on to MySpace, mainly because Justin Timberlake, as a part owner, is really trying to make it relevant again. Google is very much pushing the Google+ experience, even going too far by limiting YouTube comments to go only through this failed social networking place. LinkedIn is still popular, professionals of all branches can be found there, it is really surprising how many excellent contacts can be made there. Some other places did get popular, like Instagram, but were only bought by Facebook.

There are then former image sharing places Flickr, Tumblr and then there is Foursquare, another social networking app that was touted as the next Facebook, but did not amount to anything that big, really. Then someone thought of combining most of them into one app, where you can handle all of your accounts and follow whatever you follow everywhere, applications like Simply Social Networking PRO (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.v1_4.B45D0769871C7AC3E816CC85.com&hl=en)or My Social Media Pro (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.src.java&hl=en), which did allow you to sign into most of your accounts, but the extensive amount of information simply was way too much for one app to handle properly and popularity of such applications simply never took off.

The last popular app to be released, in October 2013, really popular and much liked, which went into that particular niche, was the BlackBerry Messenger – BBM, by BlackBerry Limited. The proprietary messenger app by “that other” mobile phone manufacturer is not limited to the BlackBerry OS anymore, but can be installed on any other available platform as well. As a free downloadable application (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bbm&hl=en), BBM managed almost 50 million downloads on the Android platform alone within two weeks from release.

Apps you should not miss

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google-apps-sphere-of-appsIt was just a question of time when Adobe will release some kind of photo editing software for mobile phones and in March of 2013 the Adobe Photoshop Express was released. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.adobe.psmobile) Since that most of the modern mobile phones have really good cameras, the first release was a big bust, it was not really good and nobody really liked it. So Adobe provided the super-duper version, Adobe Photoshop Touch, a really top of the line photo editing software primarily for tablets, but with phone display sizes of five inches and above, this limitation is not really an issue. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.com.adobe.pstouch) It is not free, but you really get Photoshop quality editing and that is really something.

Viber by Viber Media Inc. is pretty similar to Skype. The best thing about Viber is that it is not owned by Microsoft. Other than that, there are more than 200 million users of Viber and most people have it already installed on their mobile phones. You can call all your friends directly, using 3G, but you can also use Wi-Fi, which makes it really cheap to phone a friend who is nowhere near your location. International calls and roaming are expensive, but if you can Viber with them, then you pay nothing extra. Naturally you can communicate with Viber installs on desktops, Windows and Mac are supported. Additionally, groups with 40 participants can join an online conference. Texting, stickers, emoticons, photos, videos, anything goes. This is an awesome app that you really need to check out.

If you want to edit and view all kind of Microsoft Office documents, .pdf files and some more, then you need the Polaris Office. Available per Aptoide, (http://android777.store.aptoide.com/app/market/com.infraware.polarisoffice5/50331010/4221599/POLARIS%20Office%205) you can use this app to do some editing and view files, including PowerPoint presentations on your mobile device. If you are on the go and just need to fix up a file, but do not have access to your computer, this app will rescue the day.