Android apps that make communication easier


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Android apps that make communication easier

An Android phone surrounded by app icons

What's coming up?

In this activity you'll find out about some of the Google apps that are designed to help you communicate with friends, family, and the world at large.

You'll learn about messaging with Google Chat, making video calls with Google Meet, and how the Gmail app helps you access your email.

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Google apps help you communicate

Your Android phone includes apps from the manufacturer for sending text messages, accessing email, and video calling. The Google versions of these apps often have extra features and work with your Google Account to sync online via the cloud. They include:

  • Messages by Google app for sending texts, images and video messages
  • Gmail for sending email
  • Google Meet for making video calls.

If these apps aren't pre-installed on your Android phone, you can get them for free from the Play Store.

The icons for Messages by Google, Gmail and Google Meet apps
The icon for the Messages by Google app

The Messages by Google app

Messages by Google is a free text messaging service, which when installed on your Android phone is just called Messages. You can text someone by entering their mobile phone number, or choose them from your contacts.

To use all its features, Messages needs an internet connection, either via your home Wi-Fi or mobile data. If there's no internet, Messages can still send shorter texts via SMS. Messages will also use SMS when it detects the phone number you're texting is using a different messaging app, such as the one by their phone's manufacturer.

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eSafety tip

The Short Message Service (SMS) is the older system for sending texts via mobile phone. It doesn't need internet, but texts can only be 160 characters long.

When your Android phone is connected to the internet, the Messages by Google app uses the Google's cloud services to send texts, which means they can be longer and include attachments such as photos.

The Gmail app

Gmail is Google's email service that you can access via web browser on a computer, or via the Gmail app on your Android phone. By default, it uses your Google Account email address, but you can also add other services such as Yahoo or Outlook.

You can read new emails on your phone as they arrive and type a reply using the onscreen keyboard.

The Gmail app icon
The Gmail app being used on a laptop computer and a tablet

Using Gmail on all your devices

The Gmail app syncs your email over the internet, and you can sign in to the same Gmail mailbox on a tablet, or via a web browser on computer. Gmail also has a version of the app that works on Apple devices.

You can learn more about syncing Gmail across devices in the Google cloud apps course.

The Google Meet app

Video calls are a great way to communicate, especially with people who live interstate or overseas. Google Meet is Google's video calling service and app, and it uses your phone's internet connection to make and receive video calls.

Placing a call is free, but you need an internet connection with available data. Live video can use up a moderate amount of data, so make sure your Android phone is connected to your home Wi-Fi before you call.

The Google Meet app icon
The Google Podcasts app icon

The Google Podcasts app

Podcasts are like radio programs you can download and listen to when you want, rather than having to tune in to a station. Google Podcasts offers a wide range of things to listen to, and the app lets you subscribe to podcasts so you will be notified when new episodes are available.

You can find out more about podcasts in the Catch-up TV, YouTube and streaming apps course.

How Google apps work with cloud services

Google apps work with your Google Account, and you sign in to them with your Gmail address and password. This allows the apps to use Google cloud services to keep things synced.

For example, your Contacts list is saved in the cloud, so whenever you upgrade to a new phone you can sign in with your account's address and password to access them on your new device.

You can learn other benefits of using Google cloud services in the Google cloud apps course.

The Google Cloud icon surrounded by other Google app icons
An Android phone chatting to an iPhone using the Google Meet app

Google communication apps work with most devices

Google apps work with all Android devices, and many of these apps have a version that works on iPhone and iPad too. This means you can use Google Meet to video call with someone who has an iPhone and the Google Meet app installed.

Well done!

This is the end of the Android apps that make communication easier activity. You've learned about Google's video calling and messaging services, and how the Gmail app works across all your devices.

Up next is the Android apps that help keep you organised activity, which covers managing files and documents on your Android, the Google Photos app, and how the Contacts app works.

The Messages by Google, Gmail and Google Meet app icons