29 Dec 2014

Life Hacks: Top Five Mobile Apps for Students.

Top Five Apps for the Tech Savvy Student

Google Apps
Hey there, welcome to our weekly Top Five Apps for the Tech Savvy student! My name is Ezim Osai and I shall be your tour guide on this so nerdy a journey.

In lieu of recent surveys, it has been found that over 40% of youths in Nigeria who currently use the internet on mobile phones, rock the Android Operating System. The Android OS is the brain baby of Google and was much commercialized in Nigeria with the dawn of Tecno and several other phone providers, who provided Androids for the masses at very pocket-friendly prices sometime between 2008-2012.

As this is the preferred Operating System of most youths, and my own preferred operating system, our apps will be Android apps which may or may not be available on iOS, Windows, BlackBerry or Java. As a beginning week, this week all the apps on my list are Google Apps (Apps developed by/in Google Inc) and while it was a bit tough selecting just five, I believe the under listed will be of immense use to a tech savvy student (or anyone in general, really).

Google Drive
Topping my list this week is Google Drive. GDrive is an app and service that lets users save files (pictures, videos, texts, folders, apps etc) on a cloud system with a free 15GB storage!
Not only can these files be saved, but they can be shared with other users to 'collaborate' without ever being downloaded by the other user.
What this means is that for some of us who are very concerned about Intellectual Property, someone we choose can view and edit certain accessible files but will be unable to download them to his or her own device. Pretty neat huh?

An added advantage is the ease of access of Drive. Once you have it downloaded to any device running Android OS (or any computer at all), all you have to do is sign into your Gmail and have all your saved files at your fingertips to be viewed, edited, shared or downloaded whenever you want.

While Drive may not be the best Cloud service ever, it is very easy to use and very functional. Top choice for me.

Google Chrome
Chrome is the web browser from Google which comes preinstalled on some devices but certainly not all of them.

Although Chrome is not my favourite web browser, it does bring a useability and sleekness that other browsers are yet to match. Particularly, it made this list because of one simple function: Shared Tabs/History.

Wherever you download and sign into your Gmail with Chrome, all your old bookmarks and history can be imported into the new device. This is very useful for some of us who do a lot of web-work and can't always save URLs.

Chrome isn't a top choice from me, but certainly it is a great browser.

Google Translate
I believe I can say that Translate is my favourite Google App/Service. For an app less than 20Mb in size, Translate sure gives a man value for his data.
With online access to over 50 languages including Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba, as well as a language download option for offline access, Translate comes with a lot of options which are useful in various situations.
Detect Language: For instance, languages like Spanish and Portuguese or Chinese and Japanese that are visibly very similar, Translate can discern what language is what and translate to English all in three clicks!
Draw: For languages that use ideograms like Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai etc, a user can simply draw the character(s) he is seeing and Translate would provide a very accurate translation (all the times I've used it) within seconds.
Camera: Perhaps you suck at drawing or just can't be bothered, Translate has a camera option that identifies text in a specified language and translates to a choice language within seconds (no more obscure Russian or German on drink cans or Chinese on electronics!).
Voice: Okay, do I need to explain this? Anyway, Translate can detect and translate voice (into voice too as well as text) from most languages into English. While this option is not always reliable, it sure can get a man out of a pinch or help you talk to those Chinese folks you meet at Shoprite but aren't sure if they speak English.

Google My Business
GMB is an app/service that let's users have access to the analytics of their Google+ pages all day, everyday.
This is especially useful knowing who went where, when and from where. It gives you total access to a wide range of analytics and low performing pages can be complemented with Wildfire.
For students who run side businesses or have websites or blogs, GMB is for you and so far it hasn't failed me.

Google Docs
Last but not least is Docs, which I have used to type this article, actually.
Docs is the document viewer and creator from Google where a user can create and edit Word documents, Excel Spreadsheets or PowerPoint Presentations, all from the comfort of your mobile phone. While it does not offer all the functionality of MS Word, it sure does the job of a miniature version and does it very well.
Docs can be used to create PDFs as well. Top choice from me.

And that is the end of my story ^_^
Join us next week for more apps and yarns and do tell us how you enjoyed these.
PS: All the apps are free on the Google Play Store.

Ezim Osai
University of Ibadan
Department Of Physics
18. Dec. 2014

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