Apps made by Google are known for their clean and attractive interface, smooth functioning and ease of usage. As we head into the new year, here’s a bunch of them that could be very useful additions to your smartphone.

Control data with Datally

Google has released a new app called Datally, free on the Play Store, to help you keep a sharp eye on your data consumption. It’s a simple app, especially easily used by Indians, which makes it different from digging into settings and tinkering with things many people are not comfortable with at all. Many smartphones already come with some form of control over how data is used by different apps, but Datally picks out the ones that are drinking away data and presents them for you to individually select for permission or denial. You can see, at a glance, how much data the apps are using and also how much a session of overall phone use has used up. For instance, if you step out of a Wi-Fi zone and come back, you can do a quick check on what your usage was. This is really useful for those of us who suspect our cellular providers are charging us heavily.

Free up space with Files Go

Among the bunch of apps Google has launched recently to make smartphone usage lighter and easier on inexpensive phones, is a nice little one called Files Go. Practically every phone comes with some sort of a file manager and if not, there are a ton of them on the Play Store. But Google’s own Files Go is a class apart with its sheer focus on getting rid of data that may be cluttering up and slowing down your phone, not to mention gobbling up precious space. Instead of being a platform where you look around for files or move them around, Files Go categorises them beautifully and offers them up for you to glance at and banish from your phone. So, it may pick out files because they’re big, because they’re duplicated, or because they’re collected junk from your Whatsapp. Look and press delete. And get a big feeling of satisfaction from your phone feeling cleaner and lighter.

You, in Selfissimo mode

The simplest of the three photography apps Google has just launched, Selfissimo! just opens to a screen that says start. As soon as you touch the button in the centre, the app begins taking pictures of you. What you need to do is make faces, change poses, or whatever you like, to create a grid of different images, which you share with waiting friends and family. The photos are only in black and white and there’s no option to switch cameras to shoot someone else — hence the name, of course. But that shouldn’t put off today’s selfie-obsessed generation. This app is experimental and says up front that it comes from Google Research.

Comic relief Storyboard style

Load a video from your camera roll and watch the magic. Google’s Storyboard app converts portions into images in a sort of comic strip. If you swipe from up to down, you can cycle through different styles — not many, but interesting. Each time you swipe you also get a new arrangement of images. Carry on till you find one you like the look of. Save and share. That’s all there is to it. The app works fast and is really a nice implementation. Given the option of typing in some text into text bubbles, users could have made memes but even without that, it’s a fun trick.

Scrubbies and the best from videos

Another Google app, ironically only available on iOS as of now, lets a user make something interesting of a video by taking parts and putting in effects. When you start the app, you shoot a video. Make it about people and capture interesting movements. Now swipe with one finger to play back. Swipe with two fingers to record the playback. There are changes in direction and speed and portions of the video made into a loop. The app mostly does what it wants and sometimes the effect will be fun.

Areo in your area

A beautiful, neat-looking app by any standards, Google’s Areo is an aggregation of all sorts of services you need on an everyday basis. Home maintenance, food delivery, repairs, beauty salon services, chores and cleaning and even fitness experts are all on call through Areo. You’ll see familiar names such as Urban Clap, Faasos, Foodpanda etc here and will wonder why you shouldn’t just use the standalone apps — it’s just that everything is in one place and accessible through one app taking up less space on your device. But Areo doesn’t quite work everywhere in India yet, so check for your city before downloading.

(This article was published on January 3, 2018)

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