The majority of Android users use Google’s search app for, well, searching the web. But the company has supplemented its main app with a host of new features and utilities.
Usually, you’d rely on a variety of dedicated third-party apps for these features. We’re going to show how the Google app can handle several different common tasks and turn into a Swiss Army knife for services on your phone.
We begin with reminders, which have lived inside the Google app for years now. The app lets you easily configure alerts for quick tasks based either on a location or time. You can add tasks in a handful of ways.
You can either ask Google Assistant by pressing the mic icon, or simply enter a query into the search box like “Remind me to buy milk tomorrow.” If you prefer, head into the Reminders section and tap the floating Plus icon for another way.
The Reminders section is present in the hamburger menu located in the bottom-right corner of the Google app. There, you’ll also find a list of your active and past reminders. You can click either of them to edit or delete.
Another longtime Google app feature is the ability to check the weather. The app has received a handful of updates recently to deliver a better experience, though.
To know the forecast for your location, you have two options—Google Assistant or the Google feed where it’s available as a card on the app’s homepage. Tapping the three-dot menu at the right edge of the card will also let you switch temperature units or enable updates for your current or home location.
In addition, you can add a shortcut to the detailed weather page to your phone’s home screen. To do that, tap the weather card on the feed or search for it. The app will ask if you’d like to have a shortcut on the home screen. Select Add and place the icon wherever you prefer.
If you need a more comprehensive solution, check out the best weather apps for Android.
You can also follow and hear your favorite podcasts right from the Google app. Just search for a particular one and you’ll see a list of the tracks. Tap the Follow button to get updates in your feed and the Play button to begin listening.
The playback notification even has a 30-second skip option, which is a nice touch.
4. Tip Calculation
The Google app comes bundled with a nifty tip calculator too. For this, type calculate the tip or tip calculator in the search bar. You can then specify the bill amount, how much would you like to tip, and even the number of people if you want to know how much each of your party owes.
5. Shopping List
The Google app also allows you to build a shopping list. However, there’s no built-in mini-app for this. Instead, you’ll have to either rely on Google Assistant or head over to a web app weirdly linked to an option in the app’s settings. Hopefully Google will update it and bring a native view soon.
Anyway, to add an item to the shopping list, you can ask Assistant by saying, for instance, add milk to my shopping list. The second way is to open the Google Shopping List page and type there. In order to check on your list, say my shopping list to the Assistant or launch that web app again.
We’ve covered more advanced shopping list apps if this doesn’t cut it for you.
6. News and Interests
One of the first items you’ll see as soon as you land on the Google app is news and content based on what Google’s algorithms think you like. What you might not know is you can specifically customize the type of content that’s delivered to your feed. In turn, this will let you get rid of the dedicated RSS app using memory and storage on your phone.
To personalize and update the topics you’re interested in, press the hamburger icon at the bottom-right corner and then tap Customize. Here, you can add new topics to follow or edit the existing ones Google has automatically set based on your search history.
The majority of articles that appear on your feed are tailored to your preferences and search history. However, if there’s something you’re not into, you can change that on the feed itself. Tap the card’s three-dot menu where you will have three choices: hide a particular story, unfollow the topic altogether, or block the source website.
7. Bookings and Reservations
The Google app also funnels your forthcoming reservations and orders onto a single page. This lets you quickly glance over details such as confirmation numbers. Unfortunately, this won’t do anything if your primary account is not on Gmail. You can find your bookings inside the second tab of the Google app.
You can tap on the little arrow beside a reservation to reveal more information like order details or check-in dates. There’s a View in Gmail button too, which will redirect you to the relevant email.
8. Save for Later
You can save articles you’ve read, pictures you’ve viewed, or places you’ve looked up on the Google app as well. Whenever you open a link, you’ll see a bookmark icon at the top. Tap that and the article will be added to your favorites. These are available inside the Saved option on the app’s last tab.
You can even create a new collection if you’re researching for a specific purpose like a trip or project. Unfortunately, there’s no offline access yet. Hopefully, Google will roll out that feature in a later update.
9. Currency Conversions
Currency conversions are also possible on the Google app. You can either search by typing a definite query like $5 in INR or you can look up $ to INR and then fill out the values. Google search also displays a chart of the historical rates and allows you to switch currencies through dropdown menus.
The Google app easily lets you keep track of your sports teams and leagues. To tell the app which ones are your favorites, head into the Customize option in the last tab and tap View all settings. There, under the Sports section, you can specifically add the teams and leagues for which you’d like to get updates and alerts for.
Google can even send you video highlights through notifications. In addition, at the bottom of the page, there’s a category called Not Interested where you can exclude clubs and teams from appearing in the feed.
Similarly, you can follow stock rates and updates through the Google feed. Go through the same customization process above, but instead of Sports, open the settings for Stocks. Through the search, you can even compare multiple shares.
To do that, search for a stock and click the blue arrow beneath its card. There, you’ll have a button labeled Compare with a share or index. Tap that, select the second stock, and you’re all set. You can continue to do this for additional stocks and collate their charts from several periods, if you like.
If this is too basic, check out the top stock market apps that let you go further.
You can access a mini counterpart of Google Translate from the main Google app as well. You can translate phrases by simply searching for them, like Hello in French. Dictation is available, and there’s an option to enlarge the translated text if you’d like to show it to someone in a foreign land.
You’re Now a Google App Master
While these features certainly can’t replace full-fledged apps if you’re a heavy user, they’re perfect for someone who rarely fires up apps for specific purposes. And the best part is that the Google app is already on your phone and works with voice commands too.
For more like this, check out other Android apps by Google you might not know about.