App Showcase: Google Go

With the launch of Android Oreo Go edition, the Google Search Lite app has now been rebranded to Google Go, which represents a lightweight Google search app built for the “next billion Android users,” as Google claims. I tried it out on my device, and here are my impressions.

First launch

On launching the app, you are greeted with a welcome message to the app. It offers you a choice where you can select to have search results in a second language if you are multilingual. This is the case in a large number of emerging markets, and search results in Hindi are very commonly requested.

Main screen

There’s a button with a window-like icon that leads to a large list. The top of the list shows four apps that you can customize or other recommended apps in various categories.

What is interesting is that in the games section, I received suggestions for using “9Apps,” which is an alternative to Play Store. I am not sure why it was suggested, but I also saw that it got removed today after I submitted it as a feedback.

 

Weather report

On tapping weather, you get a Google lite result of the weather card. However, Google does not read out the weather to you in this case, in order to save data.

Settings screen

The hamburger menu on the top left triggers the settings screen, instead of a drawer from which you get options. (A choice which does not follow Material Design guidelines, yet it is a super smooth transition.)

The settings screen, for a change, is well organized and you can actually find the useful toggles that you might need. There is also an option to customize your search app.

Triggering a search

On triggering a search action, you are first shown the trending searches in your area. The search box is in the bottom, making way for easy access. It also shows you your recent searched just above it, in case you want to search again.

Conclusion

The Google Go app represents the challenges faced in building an application. While adding more features to the main Google app has definitely added bloat, Google Go is an app built from the ground up with a mindset of keeping it lightweight and fast. While it may not be the most useful app for a lot of people, it gets the job done and it gets it done fast, especially for those in emerging markets.