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The 78 essential tricks Google thinks every Android user should know

Published Apr 7th, 2015 1:01PM EDT
Google Android Tips And Tricks

If you own an Android phone, that also means you have a Google account. Google would like you to know that this account isn’t just there for show — it’s there to unlock a bunch of cool services on your smartphone. To help out Android newbies, Google has created a whole page dedicated to “78 things you didn’t know you could do with Google” to provide users with the basics they need to help them get the most out of Google’s services.

FROM EARLIER: Why a longtime iPhone user ‘completely regrets’ switching to Android

Some of these tricks — such as asking Google Chrome to remember the passwords on your favorite websites — are not things that we’d recommend for security purposes. That said, there are some pretty useful hints for Android beginners on here and we’ll go through some of our favorites below.

  • How to save individual places on Google Maps: Simply enter in the address of the location that you want to save, then swipe up from the bottom of your Android device and click the Star icon. Voila — your place is saved for future reference. You can designate specific addresses as your home and work addresses as well by clicking on the Menu icon in the upper-left hand corner and then tapping on the Your Places option.
  • Set up public transportation alerts using Google Now. Sign into your Google account and open up the official Google app. Next, tap the menu icon in the upper-left hand corner and go to Settings to make sure Google Now is turned on. If you have GPS enabled on your device, it will automatically give you updates on public transportation information whenever you’re at a bus stop or train station.
  • Use your Gmail account to directly send money to friends. This is one of the newer Google tricks on the list — essentially, it lets you use Google Wallet via Gmail to make PayPal-style transfers to other users’ accounts. If you click “Compose” in Gmail, you can then click on a “$” icon at the bottom of the compose window. Clicking on this will let you enter the dollar amount that you want to attach to your email, which will then be transferred to the recipient’s account when the email is sent.
  • Create group calendars to help keep teams on the same schedule. Setting this up is fairly simple: First, sign into Google’s Calendar app on your phone and open up the My Calendars menu, which will then give you the option to create a new calendar. When making your calendar, you’ll be given the option to share it with specific people, which you can do by typing in their email addresses to your calendar. When you’re done adding people and assigning them permissions for editing the calendar, click Create Calendar and you’re done.
  • Use Google Keep to quickly jot down notes. Google Keep is one of Android’s best kept secrets. For those of you who don’t know, Keep is Google’s own in-house widget that’s designed to make sure you never forget an appointment or task. It lets you use voice commands to make lists and write notes that will remind you to do things at a later date, and Google says it has some nifty photo features that will let you “grab a photo of a poster, receipt or document and easily find it later in search.”

These are just five of the 78 essential tricks Google wants every Android user to know about. To see the rest, click here.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.