There are thousands of apps that provide features like planning a day or checking on the weather or even planning a route. The problem is these are all individual apps and they end up clogging a device. The Google App offers many of these features and more.
Manage your work day
With Google calendar synched to your Gmail and Google Plus accounts, crafting your schedule becomes much easier. Stay on top of what’s happening in your life: know what you need to do, where you need to be, and how to get there. Reminders of when and where your next appointment is ensure you’ll never be late again (just keep your finger off the snooze button!).
Plan your outfit
Google provides a ten day weather forecast of any city of your choosing, enabling you to plan your outfit for the day, or your packing if you’re travelling.
There’s always a lot going on the world, and you don’t want to be left in the dark. Up-to-the-minute reports of news breaking locally and internationally mean you’ll be be able to keep track, from your phone.
Break through any language barrier with Google Translate – ideal whether corresponding with locals with another home language or overseas business partners in Europe. Convert entire web pages into English or simply learn how to ask “where is the nearest pub?” while wandering the streets of Madrid.
Be a local.
Whether you’re looking to get out and about in your hometown or find yourself in a foreign city with nothing to do, Google will list all the popular events taking place in your vicinity – from concerts to art exhibitions to night club parties.
Know what your money is worth.
If you’re an avid traveller, online shopper or investor, you need to know if you’re getting good value for your money. Find the exchange rate for everything from the US Dollar to the Bhutanese Ngultrum, updated in real-time
Calculate your restaurant tips
Calculating the bill is everyone’s least favourite part of dinner, and there’s always someone who skimps on the tip. By typing “calculate tip” into Google, you’ll be presented with a tool that will split the tab for you. (Yes, it calculates in dollars, but the numbers are still applicable to any other currency).
Find your way around a new city on foot, using public transport or by car using Google Maps voice-guided, turn by turn navigation.
View art galleries from around the world.
Google Art Project lets you view high quality images of artworks from nearly 600 international galleries.
Take a virtual tour.
Google’s Cultural Institute has many of the world’s historical and cultural treasures mapped – you can take an interactive tour of places like Robben Island, guided by a former political prisoner (https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/u/0/exhibit/robben-island-prison-tour/mQIim-e6wopSJw), the Kenya National Archives (https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/u/0/collection/kenya-national-archives) or Machu Piccchu (https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/u/0/entity/%2Fm%2F0krfy) amongst many others.
Before you leave the Google app can remind you of flight times, to check in online, remind you to confirm your accommodation and even warn you of any expected delays. On your way to the airport, you can get information about the quickest route with the least traffic, as well as your estimated time of arrival at your destination.
Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart
Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.
As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page
KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching.
The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter.
The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style.
The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button.
The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on.
In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode.
Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.
Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.
Find them on Kickstarter here.
Taxify enters Google Maps
A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.
People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.
Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.
Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.
If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.
This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.
“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.
Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.