App of the Week: Google Mobile

Title: Google Mobile
Platforms:’  iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry
Cost:’  free

Even if you’re not a Gmail user, the Google Mobile app packs a punch.

With this app, you can get all of Google’s apps in one place, many of which you can use without a Google account. Those include: Google Earth, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Translate, Google Books, and Google News.

For those of you with Google accounts, this app gets you quick access to your email, Picasa albums, Voice, Reader, Tasks, Buzz, Talk, Docs, and calendar. (If you sync your smartphone with your Google accounts, you can also have access to some of these things without needing the Google Mobile app – for example, the “Mail” app on my iPhone goes straight into my Gmail, as does my Calendar).

The “search” feature allows you to either search by text, voice, or image (the latter using the Google Goggles feature). The voice search feature is awesome. You can also search the contents of your phone right along with the web, and search for images, news, shopping, and Wikipedia right from your search screen.

Uses: both librarians and teens can get hyperorganized with this app, using it to not only keep in touch, but also to get into their documents from any location. If you’re using Google’s Tasks feature to stay on top of things, you now have a mobile to-do list. Google Books can be used to browse reading materials, and YouTube can be used to watch videos for either school or pleasure. School librarians could build a whole unit around Google Mobile: for example, have students locate Seville on a map, translate tourism websites into English, read a chapter from “The Story of Seville” on Google Books, write up a paragraph on visiting the city, and then email it to you, all from their phone.

Google may or may not be taking over the world (or is that Facebook?), but regardless of your feeling about the company, it’s hard to deny that this is a powerful app with virtually limitless uses.

About Sarah Ludwig

I am the Academic Technology Coordinator at Hamden Hall Country Day School in Hamden, CT. Prior to that, I was the head of teen, technology, and reference services at the Darien Library in Darien, CT. I started my library career as a school librarian at a small boarding school in Western Massachusetts.
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