The Google Apps may cause confusion. You see it on your phone screen with just a big G suggesting “Google”. You may not even be using it because you already use Chrome for all your web searches and website visits. You might be using Google Maps to get from one place to another. And then there are other apps that help you with other tasks.
So it’s only natural to ask…
What is Google Apps?
Google Apps is Google Search application.
But it also does a little more than the standard Google Search Bar on your browser to help you explore the world around you. Think of it as a single window to the outside world. You can then customize it to discover information around your special interests and get personalized updates.
You can get similar results with any Google Search, but the Google app just makes it easier to control redundancy.
The Google Search app can help you search faster. So let’s jump into the app and see what it can do.
Note: The Google Search app is slightly different in Android and iOS. For example, the Android app shows all the news items on Detect while iOS calls it Home. The screenshots included below are from iOS 13.
What does the Google app do?
Start with a little fun. Tap the Google logo on the home page. Without Google’s special Doodle, the colorful dots would create a short outline on the screen. Click on it again to check all its jumps.
Tap the weather icon (shows today’s temperature) to see the forecast on the Google Search results page. The detail pales in comparison to that of a weather app, but it’s enough to look at.
The default home screen gives you news stories, sports scores and anything else that’s happening around the world right now. Sign in to the app with your Google account to customize what information you want to see.
The main part of the app is Google Search. Tap it to start your search or choose a word search What is the trend? list below it.
The main screen of the Google App shows a feed of articles that it thinks will interest you. This data comes from your search history, your location, and other data Google has about you. You can disable web and app activity monitoring or remove it from the app itself by going to Operational control Page.
What is Collections on Google Apps?
A collection is a group of articles you can collate from your search results. It’s a bookmarking feature and uses the same icon next to the URL on the app. You can add anything from the search page to the collection like images, trips, and itineraries.
Add more collections and access them from Collection screen. Edit or delete them at any time. You can also share your collection with others through the app.
Tap the Collection you want to share. Configure sharing settings. As you can see in the screenshot below, you have two options.
- Share it with a view-only link.
- Share it using the Contributor link so others can add to the collection.
You can use Collections to research and then use the Contributor link to seek help from others, all from your phone. It can act as a pinboard to gather more information before a trip or for everyday things like a recipe collection.
When you want to view your collection in a browser, sign in to that Google account and type: https://www.google.com/collections.
7 Google app tips that you should know
first. Using Dark Mode: The Google Apps theme will match your phone’s default settings. You can toggle Dark Mode from the app’s Settings.
Option More > Settings > General > Themes.
2. Hide stories with one tap: Don’t want to follow a news item on your Home screen? Select the ellipsis at the bottom of the card and press Hide this story. This is one way to improve the topics you want to follow here.
3. Use 3D Touch to quickly search: Hold your finger on the Google icon a little longer and the Quick Search menu will open. The 3D Touch feature is a great way to see what’s trending and use Google’s various search modes.
4. Read aloud to multitask: Tap the Read Aloud button at the top to have a male or female voice narrate the article for you while you do other work. You can even add multiple articles to the queue.
5. Add Siri Shortcuts to Google: You can make both Siri and Google Search play together by going to Settings and configuring a few of your favorite shortcuts. Siri shortcuts must first be configured with the Shortcuts app before the key phrases trigger the desired actions.
6. Enable Anonymous Search: Anonymous search does not save your search history. You can do a quick incognito search from the 3D Touch menu or turn it on permanently by selecting the ellipsis More > Turn on incognito. After any search, you can tap the incognito icon at the top of the search page to turn it off.
7. Search with Google Lens: You don’t need separate OCR tools because Google Lens is the visual search engine for your phone. Translate text, scan things you want to buy online, discover landmarks, identify plants and animals, add events to your calendar from posters, and more.
You can even do a reverse Google Image Search with any image in Photos on your iPhone. Tap the small image icon at the top right and select an image from your iPhone’s gallery.
Do I need the Google app?
If you are a heavy user of Google Search, the app provides you with a fluent way to not only search the web, but also organize specific searches in Collections. You get Google Lens, Voice Search and the usual Google web search with all its advanced operators in one or two taps.
Best of all, you can stay up to date on topics that interest you. Finally, you might enjoy playing with a Google Doodle or using 3D Touch on the Google Widget as a shortcut to your searches on your iPhone. Let us know about it. Do you use it as much as you should?