Some of the best Android apps are also some of the most bloated. Google has a few apps like this, but you probably use them every day. Did you know Google offers slimmed-down versions of many of its apps?
These apps are actually designed for “Android Go,” which is a lighter version of the Android operating system for low-powered devices. To go along with this, Google has “Go” versions of Gmail, Maps, Files, and even Search.
Why Use “Lite” Apps?
The cool thing is you don’t need to have an Android Go device to download the Go apps. Anyone can download them from the Play Store and get a lighter Google experience. But why would you want to intentionally use apps with fewer features than their full-size counterparts?
First and foremost, the Go apps are smaller in size. For example, the full Google Maps app uses about 270MB of storage, whereas Google Maps Go uses a measly 17MB. 270MB might not seem like a lot, but 17MB is barely anything. You’ll find the same story across the board.
What if storage space is not a huge concern for you? There are other benefits as well. The slimmed-down nature of Go apps means they have fewer features. That’s easier on your battery and your data plan since they’re not always trying to do so much. In some cases, the Go apps are faster too, which fewer features bogging down the app.
In general, Go apps are easier on your phone because that is exactly what they were designed to do. If Gmail Go can work on a phone with less than 2GB of RAM, your Galaxy S21 FE will have resources to spare.
The Best of Google’s “Go” Apps
Alright, so that’s why you might want to give Go apps a try, but which ones are best? The best of Google’s Go apps might be “Gallery Go.” This is essentially the Google Photos app without so many internet-connected features. It’s a very solid gallery app with some nice Google-y features.
The Google app is probably one of the company’s most bloated apps. It has tons of stuff baked in and you may not use most of it. For a simpler Search experience, “Google Go” is perfect. Same great Google without all the fluff.
Another one of Google’s biggest apps is Google Maps. Similar to Google Search, there may be a lot of features you don’t use. “Google Maps Go” strips away a lot of the extra features and focuses on just being a great map. The one big thing you lose is turn-by-turn navigation. (That requires a separate app.)
Email is important to a lot of people, but it might not be a critical part of your life. “Gmail Go” is a much simpler version of the Gmail experience. If you’re not constantly sending and replying to emails from your phone, this is a great alternative.
The last app we’ll highlight is “Google Assistant Go.” Like the full Google app, the full Google Assistant app is absolutely packed with features. However, you may just use it for a few basic voice commands. The Go version can handle that, but the one thing you might miss is reminders.
There are a few other Go versions of Google apps as well, including “YouTube Go.” You can do a search for “Android Go” or “Android lite” in the Play Store to find more slimmed-down apps from Google and other companies that support Android Go devices. It’s a nice way to speed up your phone a bit.