With more than 1 million apps available, it's little wonder that the Google Play store is filled with an incredible variety, ranging from terrible crapware to genuinely funny to useful apps and games. Yet for every popular favorite such as Kindle or YouTube, there are just as many new, underrated or plain overlooked gems. Check out the apps you're not using but should that can be found in Google Play.
The iPhone has had Find my Friends for what seems like nearly forever. Google has finally decided to offer its own alternative for those living in the Android universe. Google’s Trusted Contacts works similarly, letting you share your location or see where your contacts are. You can send out or request a real-time location, so you don’t have to share your constant whereabouts. However, Trusted Contacts will automatically send out your location if you’re not able to answer a request, which could be of help in an emergency. An iOS app is coming soon for your iPhone-using friends and family members.
There are about a dozen different places where you can go to check airline fares. One of the best apps for this that doesn’t get as much attention is Hopper. You can save potential itineraries for later, and Hopper will ping you if the price drops. The purchasing process is streamlined so it’s only a couple of a taps and a swipe to book your tickets.
Forget those other video chat apps. If you want the most innovative option that also offers good video quality, then go with Google’s Duo. The rather neat “knock knock” feature shows a live feed of who is calling right from the lock screen. The call quality is superior to many rival services, giving Android users something akin to the flexibility and ease-of-use as Apple’s FaceTime.
Open Whisper Systems' Signal is a fantastic messaging solution for security conscious mobile users. It is an all-in-one messaging and voice call solution that uses end-to-end military grade encryption. You can send text, voice, group messages, media and attachments. Ease of use and strong, open source, audited encryption makes it a favorite of the security conscious, with accolades from the likes of Edward Snowden and other privacy advocates.
If you have multiple shoe boxes filled with old photos that you’ve always wanted to digitized, then this is the app that will help you do it. Google’s PhotoScan will create a high-quality digital image of any print picture. The app walks you through the scanning process, and then will save it to your Google Photos. Whether you keep the physical copy is up to you, but at least you’ll have access to those childhood memories right on your phone.
Torrenting apps are another thing you're not likely to see in iOS for a while. In the Android market, Flud is one of the best ones out there. The latest version sports a clean Material interface and comes with no speed limits for uploads or downloads. It sports staple features such as selective file downloading and prioritization, magnet link support, sequential downloading support and a Wi-Fi only mode. You can also dig deep into more advanced functions, in case fiddling with router port forwarding is your idea of fun. The free version is fully functional, while a paid version removes advertisements.
If your Android phone has an LED light that flashes for notifications, it’s time for you to take total control over how it works. Light Flow lets you pick both the color scheme and types of notifications for text messages, social media alerts and other updates. Developer Reactle recommends you try out the free version to ensure there aren’t any issues with your phone’s software before you upgrade to the $2.49 paid offering if you enjoy the experience.