The latest version of Google Translate offers major new features that put the app on this list. In the old version, I entered text and Google Translate provided the trranslation. With the new version of Google Translate, I can:
- Type the text, which is the default.
- Speak the text that I wish to translate. When I stop speaking for just a second, Google Translate outputs the original text and the translated text.
- Hand write the text, with my finger. Google translate did a good job of translating my sloppy finger writing.
- Take a picture of a sign. Google Translate sends the picture to their servers for translation.
Both the inputted text and translated text have a speaker icon next to them, for translating the text to speech. There is just one female voice provided, but it is clear and understandable. For the translated text, there are icons to copy the text, share the text, and expand the text to very large print.
The conversation mode takes translation to the next level. With the conversation mode, the input is from the microphone, and Google Translate speaks the translated output. Google Translates also prints the inputted text and translated text on the screen. It is not the fastest way to have a conversation, but it works. Does this remind anyone of the translator on Star Trek?
Sharing text to Google Translate has also changed. In the previous version, sharing text to Google Translate resulted in only the header being translated. Google Translate now translates the whole page, in the browser window, and it is fast. I simply had to share the page to Translate.
While the Android Robot (Portal Movil) browser has improved, it still is no match for the Android version ofGoogle Chrome. The Android version has the look of Google Chrome, with its tiled front page of most visited sites. Yet, Google Chrome for Android was designed for the mobile experience:
- There is no limit, other than hardware resources, to the number of tabs that I can open. I have never tested the limit, as I rarely have more than eight tabs open at one time. Tapping the tab icon gives a stacked list of open tabs. To delete a tab from the list, I just swiped it off the screen.
- Bookmarks are easy to access from the home page, which is the default page for a new tab. The star icon at the bottom of the page provides access to the list of bookmarks.
- One very handy feature is the ability to see the tabs that I have open on other devices. I simply have to be logged into the same Google account from each Google Chrome browser. If I open a tab on my netbook, I see the shared tab within a few seconds on my Samsung Galaxy S III. At the same time, when I open a new tab on my netbook, the home page screen shows an icon for other devices at the bottom of the screen, with a list of open tabs for each device.
I now use voice search as my normal way of doing a Google search. I set Google Chrome as the default browser, so the search results appear in Google Chrome. As I open Web pages, the URLs appear, within a few seconds, on my netbook. I still use the netbook for writing, but now use the Samsung Galaxy S III for doing research.
Scan is a QR Code reader that is super easy to use. With other QR code readers, I have to physically take a picture of the QR code to process it. Scan, on the other hand, processes the QR code as soon as it is in the square box on the screen. Depending on the options set, Scan either redirects to a Web site, or prompts first.
Scan is so easy that there is not much to say about it. There is a icon to turn on the camera flash, if needed. You can also see the history of the codes that you have scanned. Simplicity is what makes this a great app.
The updated version of Skype supports the front camera for video calls, although it does not officially recognize the characteristics of the front camera for the Samsung Galaxy S III. It still works. I just ignored the warning message, which indicates that the front camera may not be used with it full resolution. While there are other alternatives for VOIP communication, Skype remains the most recognized. It is easy to install on any device, and Skype to Skype calls are still free. With the Samsung Galaxy S III, Skype contracts are integrated into the contact list, and can be easily linked with other contacts, to form a single contact entry for each person.
I described why I use Evernote last April in the article “Evernote in Costa Rica – Pura Vida.” The latest version of the Evernote app is even better. The navigation has improved, and there is now the ability to sort Notebooks. There are even more options for managing a note. Evernote remains my favorite app for keeping track of all my research, writing, and all notes that I want to share between devices. It was one of the first apps that I installed my Samsung Galaxy S III.