Hey, I’m JR Raphael. I’m sure you’ve got a
lot of Google apps on your phone already, right? Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive — we
all know the main titles. But if you’re only using the obvious ones,
lemme tell ya: You’re missing out. Google’s got some great stuff out there that’s under
the radar and all too easy to miss. Stay with me for a minute, and I’ll show ya
a few apps you really oughta be using. Our first out of the way Google app is a little
somethin’ called Files. Now, don’t let that boring name fool ya. This is one seriously
useful tool. Files is basically a better version of the
barebones file manager that probably came preinstalled on your phone. It makes it super-easy
to browse through your phone’s storage, copy and share files, all that kinda stuff — but
it also has some really helpful advanced options. See that tab at the bottom that says “Clean”?
That’s the fastest, easiest, and most effective way you’ll find to free up space on your phone.
Tap it, and the Files app will show you all sorts of smart suggestions for clearing out
junk you don’t need — duplicate files, random old cache files, photos that are already backed
up to the cloud, even apps you haven’t opened in a really long time. And all it takes is
a couple quick taps to send any of that away once and for all. Back in the Browse tab, you can also look
through all the apps on your phone and really easily delete any junk files associated with
any of ’em — or uninstall ’em entirely even, right then and there. And then there’s the Share tab, which is an
awesome way to send any sort of file to someone nearby…. without the need for a physical
connection or cloud service. Next is a Google app called Datally. Datally?
Datally. This one’s so handy, you’ll wonder why it isn’t built right into Android. What it does is give you a dashboard for managing
your mobile data use and getting apps to stop burning through your data in the background.
You can see exactly how much data every app on your phone is using — even when you aren’t
actively looking at it — and then take simple steps to stop those apps from misbehaving
and make your data connection available only when an app really, truly needs it. Datally has a bunch of options for tracking
your mobile data use and keeping it in check. You can even set up a bedtime mode that keeps
apps from connecting to the internet while you’re sleeping — something that might not
be a bad idea, even if you aren’t worried about your monthly bill. Then there’s Voice Access. This one’s technically
an accessibility app, but it could be useful for just about anyone. Basically, it expands your phone’s voice control
system — so you can do practically anything without having to touch your device. With Voice Access in place, you can tell your
phone to go back, go home, or adjust pretty much any setting you can think of. You can
even scroll through a page, select text, and tap anything on your screen — just by talking. And finally, something that’ll almost certainly
come in handy at some point: Measure. This app’s one of those things you kinda have to
see to believe… So here we go. Measure turns your phone into
a virtual measuring tape: You just point your camera at any object around you, then drag
and drop some lines around it to get real-world measurements…. of any of the object’s sides.
You can even estimate elevation, if you really want to. Not too shabby. For more ways to make the most of your Android
device, check out my Android Intelligence column at Computerworld. You can also get
all my top tips and mobile-tech insight delivered to your inbox every Friday… by signing up
for my newsletter at AndroidIntel.net.