Why Google’s features can help you in so many ways


Back in the early 1990s a couple of research students at Stanford University called Larry Page and Sergey Brin first started to develop a search engine for the internet. Little did they know that, within less than 30 years, it would be a multi-billion dollar enterprise.

It’s achieved this by expanding into areas way beyond the original intention. And every one of them is fuelled by data and its manipulation.

This has led to a range of features that are, if not 100% indispensable, then very useful indeed, especially if you’re an Android phone user.

Millions of apps at your fingertips

Let’s start with one aspect of Google’s many features that really is essential – the Google Play Store. At the last count, this boasted around 2.85 million different apps which can transform any Android phone or tablet into virtually anything from a torch to a games console.

Sure, Google hasn’t had a hand in developing many of these apps, but they’ve facilitated billions of downloads of them. So, say you’re a cards fan or like a variety of genres of different games, thanks to the Play Store you can quickly and easily play poker on your mobile any time you wish to or play first-person shooters online, all apps themselves are all optimized for smooth, hassle-free play on a smartphone or tablet.

Comms have been transformed

Then there’s the small matter of communication. Ever since Gmail was introduced as Google’s email companion, it’s been making keeping in touch simpler than ever before. Not only that, in an age when it’s easy to be inundated with emails it lets you filter and sort them for easy management, not to mention connecting directly to your calendar to make sure you never miss a meeting, whether it’s real or virtual.

Google Inbox takes this organization up to the next level by letting you snooze emails that you don’t have time to respond to as well as letting you mark others as “Done” and ready to be archived.

Taking the hassle out of travel

Google has also become a quite an essential travel companion, whether you want to find your way around a strange city, plan your travel or even see how long it’s going to take you to get to work.

It’s also the go-to place for anyone wanting to check out the area’s best restaurants and bars and to show how to get to that place you’ve never been before but where you have an 8 pm reservation. Plus, for anyone who ever needs to have their memory jogged about where they were this time last year, Google Location history is a great place to check it out.

It can even help you get fit

It’s a little counter-intuitive that something so screen-based as Google could help you get into shape, but it can. Whether you’re striving for those 10,000 daily steps or have other fitness and weight goals, it’s a sure-fire way of monitoring your progress. The fact that it can also be automatically be linked with other apps that calculate calories consumed, or burned, simply makes it all the more useful. 

Google Now: Your personal assistant

But, for an even more comprehensive lifestyle companion, look no further than Google Now. This is something that can bring many of the disparate Google services together. These include being able to track packages that are on their way to you, booking tickets for major events and keeping you up to date with culture.

It’s even more like a personal assistant because it can respond to voice commands and answer almost any question you might possibly have.

For sports fans, it will give updates on how a favorite team is doing – and investors can even use it to keep track of their stocks and shares. What’s more, new features are frequently being added to make it even more useful in countless ways.

It’s just all-around useful.

The fact of the matter is, that if you have a particular need or desire, then the people at Google are working on how to meet it – or have met it already. It could be that you find ads are too intrusive when you’re browsing. Even though they’re a big earner for Google, they’ll help you to block them.

And, with so many passwords and other security information to remember, it can be hard to keep track. Luckily Google Chrome will be able to store them safely so you don’t need to remember them.

It’s amazing for business too

Let’s not overlook everything that Google features can do for businesses too. At the most basic level, it can lead customers looking for a particular product or service right to where they will find it. Google My Business contains a customer’s tab where owners can reply to their reviews relating to their business. 

It’s also amazing for advertising too, using keywords that will lead people directly to e-commerce websites. And with many businesses relying almost exclusively on Google searches to bring them to their door, frankly, they’d be lost without it.

Of course, this all does come at a price. Some feel Google has used data to become too powerful for its own good. This throws up many questions about privacy and data protection. So regulators are certainly taking a much closer interest in this matter than ever before, with social media companies like Facebook and Instagram also in the spotlight.

But it might just be that this giving up of data is the price we have to pay in exchange for the sheer usefulness of Google and all of its features.

Paolo Calayag

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