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The last year or so has seen Google release a variety of lightweight “Go” apps for emerging markets, using less data and requiring less storage space than the standard apps.
It can be confusing to remember all the Google Go apps if you haven’t been keeping track. Heck, I’ve been keeping tabs somewhat and even I find it confusing. In any case, here are all the major Go apps from Google. Many of these might just be glorified web apps but we’ll list them anyway.
The obvious one is a lightweight version of Google’s bread and butter, the search engine. And it has plenty to offer anyway.
Billed at 5MBs in size, the app offers search functionality, voice search, trending topics and image/GIF search. There’s also weather, translate and maps support too. Now, if only it was available locally…
Take YouTube, strip it to the essentials and (for better or worse) this is what you get with YouTube Go. And yes, it’s available in South Africa.
YouTube Go strips away things like playlists, the ability to visit channels and inbox messages, making for a limited experience. But tapping a video brings up a “stream or download” menu, letting you choose the type of quality before you stream/download. And each quality setting is accompanied by the exact file size, so data usage shouldn’t leave you surprised.
The other cool feature is the ability to share downloaded videos over a local network — handy for those without WiFi or people with low mobile data caps.
This one is apparently a web app in a wrapper of sorts, so don’t expect any crazy features here. But it weighs in at less than 1MB so there’s that…
In any event, Maps Go doesn’t appear to support offline map downloads or offline public transport routes, which is a shame. But if the standard Maps app is a resource hog for you, then this is worth a try.
Even Google’s virtual assistant is getting a lightweight client in the form of Assistant Go, but is it still as smart as the vanilla version?
You’ve got most of the same core functionality here, such as dictating text messages, conducting voice calls, navigating to places, playing music, general queries and all that. The power of the cloud etc.
However, there are a few compromises, such as the lack of smart home commands, device actions and reminders. Additionally, the app requires Android 8.0 and up, ruling out many older phones.
The reception for Files Go has been less about it being a “Go” app and more about it being the first official file manager for Android. And it’s a pretty solid first try, it must be said.
Aside from the usual file/folder navigation, the app also has tools to free up more space, supports Google Drive and lets you share files locally. Not bad for an app that’s only 6MB in size.
One of the more recent Google Go apps, this lightweight version of Gmail has all the basic functionality of Google’s mail service.
So that means filtering/labels, offline functionality for sending emails and smart replies if you’re in a rush. Don’t expect Inbox-style snoozing features here though.
Feature image: Memeburn