When you boot up that Android device for the first time, you will be prompted to sign in with a Google account. If you do not have one, you will be directed to create one. This is basically a required step for any Android user, considering that Google makes Android. Your Google account will allow you to access to the Play Store and Gmail, but that’s just one useful drop in Google’s bucket of possibility. So make sure you retain that username and password, and get ready to learn how to make use of that Google account.
A Google account is free (WOO!). It grants you access to Google’s buffet of awesome, cloud based apps. To uderstand what that means, let’s go over the concept of Cloud Computing.
In brief terms computing in the “cloud” means computing on a remote server or computer. Why is this a good thing?
It’s good because it allows that computer in your hand to be infinitely more powerful! Thanks to Google’s cloud services, you have a place to store 5gb worth of documents, 20,000 songs, all of your calendars, all of your contacts, your phone’s settings and wifi passwords, and also your pictures and videos. All without ever plugging in a “sync” cable.
Google takes this beyond simple cloud storage. There are now “apps” that live in the cloud. For example, Google Drive is a great place to store your documents; it also has a full office suite built in so you can edit them! That means editing, storing, and sharing is all done in one place, from any computer or android device. Now that you understand Cloud Computing, let’s go over some of Google’s most popular apps and how to use them.
Accessing Google Apps
We will start with the web browser. If yours has a blue “e” as an icon, then you should look into getting a new browser. Google is fully compatable with Internet Explorer, but I just hate that people still use it so I trash it every chance I get (please excuse me while I take this opportunity). There are only 3 reasons someone would use Internet Explorer.
- It was already on the computer when you bought it and you didn’t know that you could download a new one.
- You need it for your job’s glitchy web portal.
- You are afraid of change.
So if you fall into a category above, and you have 5 minutes to spare please click on one of the links below to live a little and try something new.
We’ll wait for you to install a new browser, so that you can enjoy our website more thoroughly. Go ahead…
Okay, now that you have your shiny new browser let’s take it for a spin in the cloud. The only thing you need to know before hand is your Google account username and password. If you don’t have that please go to Google.com and try to reset it. Now assuming that you know the credentials, we will get started. (Note: all links below will open in a new window/tab, so click away)
Go to Google.com
, when you get there click the button in the top right corner that says “sign in”.
Sign in button.
When you get here, you can probably guess what to do. Take that username and password and log into your account.
Type it in. Some of you may know what arsoninthesuburbs is, if not, arsoningthesuburbs.co is waiting.
When you’re all done, you will be directed back to Google.com. This time it will look slightly different. You will see you name on the page and also a list of apps at the top. The apps look like this.
Guess what happens when you click “more”,
We’ll only cover a few apps in detail, but you can use the momentum and play around with others to learn more. If you don’t see the app listed, click “More”, and more apps will appear (O_O). And don’t forget, if you have a question about any of them please post it in the comments. We would like to talk to you people.
Using Google Apps
Go ahead and click “Drive”. This is what you will see.
There are two way to save something in here; you can either Create or Upload. You can save any file you like as long as you stay under 5gb. If you need more space you can purchase it from Google. To create a new file, click the red “Create” button on the left hand side. To upload a file click the red button to the right of “Create”.
You can upload any type of file at all (just like drop box). From inside the Drive application, you can create word documents, excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, forms, drawings, and more. This means that you never have to shell out cash for Microsoft office again.
Return to Google.com and this time click “calendar”.
This app is fairly straight forward. It’s a calendar, nothing special right?… WRONG!
This isn’t just a calendar. It’s a calendar that lives in the cloud! Any time you edit the events in this calendar, they automatically appear in your phone’s calendar. Before this can happen though, you must have sync enabled for you Google account on your phone. (Settings > Accounts & Sync > “Your Google Account” > Calendar). You can also sync one calendar on multiple android devices. This is useful for a small business to make their schedule, or a family to plan events. The calendar possibilities are endless. Play around and see what role it can fill in your life!
Play may be one of the most commonly misunderstood apps out there. Long story short, Google made a slew of media apps; they consisted of Market(for apps), Music, Books, and Movies. To make things more streamlined they put them all together and called it Google Play.
This is where you will go to find new content, and enjoy the content that you already have. Go ahead an sign in. You should have no problem doing this by now.
You will see a variety of options. Music, Books, Magazines, Movies & TV, Android Apps, and Devices. We’ll cover each one briefly, but it will be up to you to discover how and why you are going to use them.
The list on the left is where you will go to search for new content, and the list on the top is where you will go to enjoy the content that you already have.
Google Play Music will allow you to store your entire music collection (up to 20,000 songs) in the cloud. This is done by downloading Music Manager, a small piece of software that uploads you music library to your Google Account. Once there, your music can be accessed from any web browser or Android device. I highly recommend using this free product. There are more features than you can shake a stick at, and it’s a great way to validate purchasing a device with limited storage.
There are millions of songs available for purchase, and hundreds for free. You can purchase content from your android device or your computer; since it is cloud based both will produce the same result. Go set your music free, and enjoy this video from Google that explains the whole thing!
If you purchased an E-reader for hundreds of dollars, close your eyes and scroll down. Otherwise, check out Google Play Books. The Books app has millions of titles available at competitive prices. Just like everything else, it is cloud based. Buy it on your computer, read it on your phone, pick up on the same page on your tablet. That’s about it; simple and powerful.
If you can wrap your mind around Google Books, then Magazines should be no problem for you. Google Magazines is a place to search for, and subscribe to magazines that can be viewed on all of you devices and computers instantly. Give it a go if reading magazines is your thing!
Movies & TV
Some people (Especially iPhone users) avoid vast amounts of video content on their mobile phones. This is because one movie can weight as much as 1.5 GB! That’s simply not practical. Google has the solution!
With Google Movies & TV all of your digital video content is cloud based. Yes, that means just like everything else it is infinite, instant, and freaking awesome. Want a movie? Just click buy/rent and start watching instantly on any device or computer that is linked with your Google Account! Same goes for any other video content that they offer. This is a great substitute for RedBox if your device has HDMI Capabilities (Almost every HTC, Samsung, and Motorola). Go browse around and check out the selection!
Google Movies & TV
As you may have guessed, this is where you can get new apps for the shiny new phone you just bought! I could go on and on talking about it but instead, here is a video! Yay Youtube! (a google product btw).
This is the last app that we will cover. Devices lets you purchase brand spanking new pure Android devices from the Google Play Store. Right now the Nexus 7 tablet is only $199.99! If you don’t have a tablet yet RUN don’t walk to go buy one. Tablets will soon be replacing laptop computers world-wide. You don’t want the world to laugh at you for still having a laptop do you? We didn’t think so.
Your Google Account can do WAY more than you thought it could right? The bottom line is, if you don’t use it you are literally ignoring most of the features on your phone. Essentially this is the stuff that makes your Android phone so much more useful than that obsolete piece of glass known as iPhone (yes i hate apple more than you do).
Well, if you followed me you have a new web browser, and more importantly, a better understanding of what Google is capable of doing for you! There is plenty more to discover, so start power using your devices and get your money’s worth out of that data package you were so hesitant to add to your phone bill! Until next time,