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How the Google App can help you

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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.

Be informed.

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.

Be multilingual.

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).

Explore.

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.

Cruise Control

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.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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