Chapter 10 – All In With Google

This is a series of blog posts documenting my switch from iPhone to Android. To read the whole exciting saga, click here.

Screenshot_2015-03-12-10-42-30The Google Play store has over a million apps available for download, and there are other Android app stores available. There’s no limiting you to one store, as with the iPhone. Trying to find the right app can be daunting.

I decided to try out all of the Google apps first to simplify things, then will compare their offerings to some of the other apps out there. My take on the app offerings are below.

I’ve had a Gmail account since 2005, when it was in closed beta and Gmail invites were like currency. Over the years I’ve played with forwarding mail to Gmail as a front end while keeping a copy of my mail on my home server. I turned forwarding on again, and quickly realized how much I miss Gmail’s SPAM filtering. SPAMASSASSIN couldn’t compare to Google’s SPAM filtering, and whitelisting improperly classified mail requires me to log in to a web page and copying/pasting the address into the page.

Android automatically stores photos on Google+. I re-activated a dormant Google+ account and started playing with it. Sharing permissions are much easier; with circles I can set up different groups and tailor different context to the appropriate groups. I’m enjoying the photo communities, but sometimes photos can overwhelm friend updates. My parents don’t get my sysadmin humor, and my sysadmin friends may or may not want to see pictures of my kids at the park.

I’ve moved some documents I use regularly to Google Docs, and am going to start trying it out on my phone.

Google Messenger is a great eye-candy replacement for the Android messaging app and the AT&T Messages app, which promised to be a unified inbox, but wouldn’t connect to my AT&T voice mail box.

I plan on using Google Voice; I’d sworn by it when I was a consultant. I’m looking forward to seeing how I tie a SIP account and Skype calling to it.

Google Earth runs more smoothly on my phone than it does on my laptop, which is a testament to a paired GPU/CPU and dedicated hardware.

Google Docs and Sheets have been just fine with my Microsoft Word and Excel documents. These are my home docs and aren’t very complicated. I should throw a Excel workbook with pivot tables from work at Sheets and see what happens.

Play Newsstand is a nice app, on par with flipboard and Circa; I’m using it to browse news when I’ve got time to kill.

Once I’m comfortable with Google’s apps, I’ll compare them to third party apps and see how they compare.

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