September 21, 2014

FixIt!: Google Experience

uk_mapsPart of the attraction of Android is the tight link with Google and its products. Most devices are packed with applications developed by Google to help the users get the most out of their product: Gmail, Google Maps, Gtalk, and YouTube. Did Google create a perfect Google Experience or is there room for improvement?

  • Google mail. I’ve used the Symbian version of this application and oddly enough, in some aspect, it is better than the Android one. No, it didn’t have real push email and was not as easy to use on my non-touch screen, but I was able to setup more than one account. Indeed Google you’ve succeeded and today lots of people have two accounts with your email product: a personal gmail and a work/university Google Apps account, so it would be great to be able to access both from Google Mail, no? Rumor is that it will be included as part of Android 2.0 but I wish we would not have to wait that long!
    What Google Mail is also lacking is a better handling of embedded files. For instance, a preview of attached images like I can see in my browser would be nice. Google Mail is a good app but lacking many features to replace email clients or even Gmail on a browser.
  • Google Maps.  I am a fan of Google Maps on the web. I have a few saved maps in My Maps, as I’ve been using it to prepare all of my recent vacations (get distance for road-trips, find hotels and things to see on the way,…). Unfortunately, I can only wish that I could access My Maps in Google Maps on my Android. To be able access and edit maps I created on my computer, create new ones on my smart-phone and see them once back home on my computer with Google Earth.
  • The other Google: There are other applications that could have been included in the Google Experience: Google Docs, Google Reader, Google AdWords and Analytics, iGoogle (as widgets), Picasa to name only a few. There are alternatives on the Market for most of these, but hopefully some of the smarter Google engineers are using their 20% to work on Google’s version so that they become part of the experience.

The Google Experience is a valuable asset to any Android device but it could be improved to be a better match and companion to their desktop computer counterparts. Let’s hope that Google will keep up the good work and improve its range of Android apps.

If you think of any features that are missing in the existing apps or have in mind apps you would like to see from Google, please post a comment below.

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