I’ve been a fan of the Google Search App for iOS almost from the beginning. Sure Safari and Google Chrome have a search feature built right into the browser, but the dedicated App offers many more features. For one, when I sign in with my Google ID I get access to my search history even if I did the searches on my notebook/desktop. The app also supports voice search. What’s new in this 3.0 version is the integration of location based Google Now. These cards can start you off with the current weather conditions and traffic conditions. Beyond those basics you can see what local restaurants are in the area as well as sports scores and breaking news. I tend to use a couple of other apps to get this kind of info, but it’s nice having all there at my finger tips when I go to search for something. Also if you search for a business location or other destination, Google Search integrates nicely with the Google Maps app on your iOS device. Just tap and you’re on your way with turn-by-turn voice directions.
Get Google Search featuring Google Now on iPhone or iPad here for free:
Although we cheered when Google Maps returned to iOS as downloadable App, there was one feature missing that we had before. The ability to search your contacts for addresses to navigate to. Although this update is not using the built-in contacts, it will use your Google (GMail) contacts in all searches now. I don’t mind this since I sync my iOS and Google contacts with this great app. It would have been nice to use the built-in contacts since that’s where most users will have their contacts, but I can see Google (an iOS competitor) wanting to keep everything in their own eco-system (just like Apple does). This update also brings fast category searching such as restaurants, bars, cafes, gas stations, etc. and the ability to choose between Miles or Kilometers as your preference.
The more I use Apple Maps, the more I’m happy that we have alternatives. While Navigon is still my overall preferred full featured turn-by-turn navigation App, Google Maps is great for a free alternative.
Google seems to be on roll recently. The long awaited Google Maps App debuted and now Google has surprised us with a new App called YouTube Capture. Your iPhone can already capture video and once you shoot it you can go find it in the camera roll and share it to YouTube. The YouTube Capture App aims to streamline that process much like the way the Instagram App does for posting shots directly to Instagram. Just fire up YouTube Capture rotate your iPhone to landscape orientation (a good idea) and start shooting. Once you stop the capture you can immediately post it to YouTube and share it to Google+, Facebook and Twitter. Again, this could all be done in iOS 6 without a special App, but it would take several steps more. Especially the part of sharing it to Google+, Facebook and Twitter. You can also choose to upload your video as Public, Unlisted or Private.
How well does it work?
I only did a quick test and found it to work as advertised although surprisingly the only problem I had was with Google+. It wouldn’t even let me activate Google+ until I relaunched the App. After I captured my video it told me that my Google+ circles were not available, but Facebook and Twitter were available and ready to use. Although my iPhone can capture 1080p video this App is limited to 720p. That’s probably fine for most quick videos that people want to capture and immediately post to YouTube. Speaking of which the App also gives you the option to upload any videos you have in your camera roll whether you shot them with the App or not. You can also shoot with the App and upload later. Once you shoot a video with the App you can also enhance it with Color Correction, Image Stabilization, Trimming and even YouTube SoundTracks for background music. Also in typical Google fashion, there is no iPad version yet. The funny thing is that I’m seeing more and more people shooting video with their iPads. Something I thought that wouldn’t catch on.
The Bottom Line
Although this App was a surprise and I wasn’t really asking for it, it will definitely be a nice to have. I expect to see a lot more videos on YouTube now as the process before took a few more steps than the casual user was probably willing to go through. Now you’ll see people shoot and share more videos and this is just in time for the holidays.
Thanks Google. (also please fix the Google+ issues)
Google acquired Nik Software and didn’t waste much time updating Snapseed for iOS and also coming out with an Android version. Snapseed has always been one of my favorite image editing apps on iOS and although it has been offered for Free from time to time by Nik, now it’s free for all. One of the biggest features in this update is the ability to share images to (wait for it……..) Google+. Shocking I know, but yes Google has added Google+ sharing to their new image editing App. It seems that Google has been on a roll lately with updates for their iOS Apps. They updated the YouTube App to be iPad native, revamped the Gmail App and people are loving it and now a new Snapseed App. We can only hope that a new Google Maps App is in the not too distant future. I think Apple Maps is “OK”, but most of the things I search for never seem to be there. It’s for that reason and that reason alone that I miss Google Maps.