Have you been following all of the reviews lately of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge? One of the biggest topics every reviewer touches on is TouchWiz. TouchWiz is a user interface developed by Samsung that is an overlay on top of Google’s ideal vision of Android. It changes the look and functionality of Android and is exclusive to Samsung devices.
If you’re relatively new to Android and have not used many devices, you would get a completely different experience on a Nexus 6P than what you would get on your Galaxy S7 or S7 edge.
It’s almost universal that most people aren’t a fan of Touchwiz. Rather than go into what is wrong with app duplication and useless features of TouchWiz, I have selected five official Google Android apps you can install to improve your user experience.
Google Now Launcher – LINK
The Google Now Launcher is what Google envisions how Android should feel, look, and interact with each user. It’s one of my apps to install whenever I pick up a Galaxy device these days. A launcher will replace the user interface that Samsung gives you, and will do away with things like Flipboard in the left hand screen. It will also automatically alphabetize your app drawer which TouchWiz does not.
Installing a launcher will not modify or delete any apps on your device.
Back in January I gave a much more thorough review and explanation of what the Google Now Launcher is all about. You can check out that post by clicking on this link. If at anytime you decide that you do not like the Google Now Launcher, just uninstall it and everything will go back to the way it was before you installed the app.
• Swipe right from your Home screen to see Google Now cards that bring you just the right information, at just the right time.
• Quick access to Search from every Home screen.
• Say “Ok Google” to search with your voice, or tell your phone what to do: send a text message, get directions, play a song, and much more.
• A-Z apps list, with fast scrolling and quick searching of apps on your device and the Play Store.
• App Suggestions bring the app you’re looking for to the top of your A-Z list.
Google Messenger – LINK
Google Messenger is what Google thinks your text messaging app should like like. Its design and layout adheres to Material design with a clean and colorful look. More importantly it is definitely much easier to use than the preinstalled Samsung text messaging app. Just like with the Google Now Launcher, Messenger can replace Samsung’s default app and can be completely reversed with an uninstall if you don’t like it.
Although with 50 million installs, and a 4.2 star rating, there is a slim chance that will happen.
• Faster sharing: Select or take pictures and videos directly from the app and share easily. You can even send audio messages to your contacts.
• Easy search: Search through contacts and conversation threads to find exactly what you are looking for.
• Purposeful design: New, fluid, material design that is intuitive and delightful.
• More control: Ability to block SMS senders. No interruptions when you don’t want them!
• More features: audio messages, emoji support ?, stickers, location sharing, colored text threads, message archiving and more.
Google Keyboard – LINK
The stock Samsung keyboard is decent, but there are many areas where it needs improvements. One of those areas is autocorrect, which is one of the worst of any I have ever used. The Google Keyboard app is a superior keyboard in almost every single way, and has been downloaded by 500,000,000 users. It also has a 4.2 rating from over 650k people from around the globe.
• Gesture Typing: Slide your finger from letter to letter. Completes a word before you’ve finished the gesture, especially useful when gesturing longer words.
• Voice Typing: Touch the microphone to dictate your text.
• Word completion suggestions, automatic corrections, and next-word prediction.
• Emoji: Press and hold Enter to add emoji in any app
• Learns as you type: No need to manually add words to a personal dictionary. Type a word once and you can gesture type it or find it in suggestions next time.
• Syncs your user history across devices and improve suggestions. To turn on keyboard syncing, go to:
• Settings > Language & input > Google Keyboard > Accounts & Privacy > Google Keyboard Sync
Gesture typing and word suggestions supported in:
English, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German (Germany and Switzerland), Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish.
Google Photos – LINK
No one does photos better than Google. They offer free unlimited backup of photos and videos, have excellent search features from locations to faces to animals – Google Photos does it all. Over 3 million users have given Google Photos a 4.4 star rating and they’re not wrong.
Here is why:
Google Photos is the home for all your photos and videos. Automatically organized and searchable, you can find photos fast and bring them to life. It’s the photo gallery that thinks like you do.
Your photos are now searchable by the places and things that appear in them. Looking for that fish taco you ate in Hawaii? Just search “food in Hawaii” to find it – no tagging required.
UNLIMITED FREE HIGH QUALITY STORAGE
Automatically backup all your photos and videos. Access them on any device or on the web at photos.google.com. Your photos are safe, secure, and private to you.
FREE UP SPACE ON YOUR DEVICE
Never worry about running out of space on your phone again. In Settings, just tap “Free up device storage” – photos that are safely backed up will be removed from your device’s storage, but will still be available in Google Photos.
BRING PHOTOS TO LIFE
Enjoy automatically created montage movies, interactive stories, collages, animations, panoramas, and more from your photos. Or you can easily create them yourself – just tap +.
Transform photos with the tap of a finger. Use simple, yet powerful, photo and video editing tools to apply filters, adjust colors, and more.
Get everyone’s photos and videos in one place, across iOS, Android, and the web. Privately sharing all the photos you took – and getting the ones you didn’t – has never been easier.
Instantly share up to 1,500 photos with anyone – no matter what device they’re on. In the share menu, just tap Create Link.
REDISCOVER YOUR PHOTOS
It’s easier than ever to relive your memories. The Assistant can create collages of your old photos that help you relive the past.
READY TO CAST
View your photos and videos on your TV with Chromecast support.
Chrome Browser – LINK
As an Android user there is a high chance that you use Google Chrome on your desktop or laptop. While Samsung’s internet app isn’t all that bad, it definitely is not Google Chrome.
The Chrome Browser is one of the best internet apps you can use, and it syncs across all your devices when you sign in with your Google account. You can even use less data with a savings of up to 50%. With at least one BILLION installs across Android devices, I would hope you’ve at least tried it once in your life. If you haven’t, you’re missing out.
• Sync Across Devices – seamlessly access and open tabs and bookmarks from your laptop, phone or tablet
• Save Data – reduce mobile data usage by up to 50% while browsing
• Faster Browsing – choose from search results that instantly appear as you type and quickly access previously visited pages
• Voice Search – use the magic of Google voice search to find answers on-the-go without typing
• Translate – easily read webpages in any language
• Intuitive Gestures – open as many tabs as your heart desires and quickly flip through them by swiping from side to side on the toolbar
• Privacy – use Incognito mode to browse without saving your history
Give these five apps a try
There’s a good chance most of you already know about these apps. If you want more official Google Android apps head on over to the Google Play Store and just search “Google” and it will bring up a list of every app it has developed.
If you like TouchWiz and the default Samsung apps then stick with them. If you’re wondering, these official Google apps can be installed on any manufacturer’s Android devices. So if you’re using an LG, HTC, Sony or Motorola device, you can join in on the fun too. Although, Motorola is about as stock as it gets these days.
Stock Google Apps – Google Play Store LINK