After getting a limited rollout in Asia more than a year ago and then capturing a bit of the spotlight earlier this year at I/O 2019, Google on Tuesday formally announced the worldwide launch of a new lightweight search app called Google Go that comes in at just 7MB but offers a useful range of features for more basic devices.
Google Go’s global availability on the Play Store today was preceded by a small launch on Android Go edition devices back in 2017. Today, the app is available for all Android devices running at least the “Lollipop” version of the mobile OS.
“Google Go helps you use less storage on your device and keeps an unreliable connection from slowing you down,” Google Go product manager Bibo Xu explained in a company blog post on Tuesday. “It also puts web versions of your favorite apps at your fingertips, giving you the option of downloading fewer apps on your phone. And if you lose connectivity when you using Google Go, it will remember your place and even retrieve your search results for you once you’re back online.”
Starting today, our lightweight search app #GoogleGo will be available globally on the @GooglePlay store. As demo'd at #io19, Lens in #GoogleGo can help translate and search the words you see around you, and even read them aloud.https://t.co/rAjR34KznM
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) August 20, 2019
This app is actually one of a few recent Google launches specifically targeted toward emerging markets. Another, introduced last month, is Gallery Go. It’s a slimmed-down, lightweight alternative to the Google Photos app which is designed to work offline and lets machine learning automatically organize and touch up photos similar to how the same thing is done within the main Google Photos app.
Earlier this year, meanwhile, Google showed off the inclusion of Lens functionality within Google Go, which lets you use your camera to read, translate and search the words you see. It works by opening Lens, pointing your camera at a specific bit of text, and the words will then be read out loud to you, translated or both.
Other features of the app include the ability to actually just listen to any web page instead of reading what you find. This feature lets you follow along to words that are highlighted as they’re read, which will presumably be useful if you’re multitasking and apparently don’t have time to read what you’re searching for.