Travel and weather
Chances are, you’ve already got this beauty installed on your Android device. If not, what are you waiting for? Google’s mapping app is the best around, with excellent routing by car, public transport, or bike/foot. But it’s more than just a massive map. You get Street View for nosing around selected spots (including national monuments – and a TARDIS, if you can find it) by way of panoramas, fast access to information about local amenities and entertainment, and an offline mode. That last one enables you to save a chunk of a map to your device, using it as a turn-by-turn driving aid even when you’ve no internet connection.
Google Maps might be the best mapping app around, but if you find yourself immersed in a massive city, you might want something a bit more focussed. Citymapper is all about zipping about by the best modes of transport possible, and dozens of cities are supported.
It figures out where you are and plugs into all available transit information, enabling you to rapidly plan journeys via train, bus, bike, or ferry. Journey overviews enable you to compare how many calories or bucks you’ll burn, along with discovering which are ‘rain safe’, and those that’ll require you to hang around for ages before getting going.
Google Earth used to feel like Google Maps wrapped around a massive ball. But it’s now ideal for anyone who fancies doing tourism, but who’s too lazy to get out of a chair.
You can scoot about the planet by way of search, a randomised ‘feeling lucky’ option, or Voyager tours. The tours enable you to gawp at bits of NASA, modern wonders of the world, or where the dinosaurs bought it.
Some of the 3D landscapes still look like a dodgy PC videogame, but it’s nonetheless rather nice to see low-poly visuals transform before your eyes into something recognisable and almost photographic. The Alps, in particular, look superb.
We’ve seen a few clever translation apps in our time, but Google Translate now crushes them all. It offers (sometimes clunky) word-for-word translations of over 100 languages with input via text, handwritten words or symbols, spoken words or even text recognition via the camera. It can then give you the translation in the form of text or speak it for you.
The core app can do all this with a data connection, but if you’re abroad and fearing nasty roaming data charges, Google Translate may still come to your aid: over 50 of the languages work entirely offline for basic translation.