The Go versions of Google’s apps are the tech giant’s attempt at improving the Android user experience on entry-level smartphones. Go apps are the trimmed-down versions of the core Google apps.
These lightweight copies of Google apps are less resource-hungry, meaning they should run flawlessly on lower-end smartphones. Google primarily aims this program at users from developing nations, but any performance-conscious Android user around the globe can download and use apps made for the Android Go platform.
Android Go Apps: The Benefits
Android Go apps target smartphones with limited RAM and storage space. Google has built these apps to run smoothly on devices with as little as 1GB of RAM. Moreover, the apps are up to 50 percent lighter than their regular versions.
Your high-end Android smartphone can also get bloated over time. Worse yet, your Android phone can run slow even with top-notch specs. So, it’s definitely a great idea to take advantage of these optimized apps, even if you rock a flagship Android phone.
Now that you know the advantages of Android Go apps, here are the Android Go apps you can try out right now. We’ll also cover the differences between these lightweight apps and their regular counterparts.
1. Gmail Go
Gmail Go is a slimmed-down version of the standard Gmail app. It comes with almost all the features of its regular counterpart, including support for multiple accounts, launcher shortcuts, swipe gestures, new mail notifications, and more.
Its features are so close to the regular version that we wonder why the standard app is so much larger in size. It’s worth noting that the Gmail Go app is not available in all countries. However, you can download the APK installation file and install the app manually on your phone as per the link above.
Download: Gmail Go (Free)
2. Google Maps Go
Maps Go is a lightweight version of Google Maps. It retains most of the features of the regular Maps app, such as real-time traffic updates, directions, public transport, and information about local businesses.
Maps Go is simply a Progressive Web App (PWA), requiring Google Chrome to work. It’s definitely lighter and probably uses less data than the regular Maps Go app, but it doesn’t come with an offline mode, which is essential for users, especially in developing countries where internet connectivity might be limited.
Another feature that Maps Go doesn’t support is sharing your real-time location. Still, Maps Go is a much better option for older smartphones that cannot run the regular Maps app altogether. After all, having some maps is better than having no maps.
Download: Maps Go (Free)
3. Google Assistant Go
The lightweight version of Google Assistant lets you ask various questions with your voice, just like the regular version. It seems pretty limited in other aspects, though. For instance, it currently only supports English, although it’s likely that Google will add new languages soon.
Another major limitation is that you cannot control smart home devices with Google Assistant Go. It also doesn’t support Google Assistant Actions.
This means that you cannot interact with third-party apps using the lightweight version of Google Assistant. Also, you cannot use your keyboard to type instructions for Google Assistant Go, so you’ll have to resort to speaking to it.
But again, the target audience of this app is users with low-end phones. You can’t really utilize the full power of the Assistant app on a considerably older device anyway.
Download: Google Assistant Go (Free)
4. Gallery Go
Gallery Go is a sort of lighter version of Google Photos without the cloud backup features. The app has tons of features that you’d expect from a gallery app.
Gallery Go organizes your photos automatically and has the option of auto-enhancing your photos. However, the most important feature it offers is its fast performance and offline functionality that you might not find in Google Photos.
Download: Gallery Go (Free)
5. YouTube Go
Launched in 2016, YouTube Go was one of the first Android Go apps. This data-friendly version of YouTube is designed to keep data consumed to a minimum.
The video previews feature lets you take a sneak peek of what’s inside the video. YouTube Go also allows you to download videos for offline viewing.
The regular YouTube app lets you save videos offline too, but the Go variant offers more control. For instance, it allows you to choose the desired resolution and displays the estimated file size before downloading a video.
Video sharing is another exclusive YouTube Go feature that lets you share videos with nearby friends over Bluetooth.
Download: YouTube Go (Free)
6. Files by Google
Files by Google, formerly known as Files Go, is Google’s first attempt at building a standalone file manager. So, it doesn’t have a full-featured counterpart.
It comes with a slew of storage management features such as the ability to clear app cache, uninstall unused apps, find and remove duplicates, and more. It also ships with a Share Files feature that lets you transfer files wirelessly to nearby devices.
Files by Google doesn’t support features such as file-sharing network protocols like FTP, WebDAV, and SFTP. So, if you’re looking for such advanced features, we recommend checking out other our list of powerful third-party file managers for Android.
7. Google Go
Launched in early 2017 as Google Search Lite, the app was rebranded to Google Go in the following years. It brings over many features of the main Google Search app: you can search Google, find and share images, search with your voice, and everything else you’d ideally expect.
It’s almost identical to the standard app but offers greater control over the interface. For instance, you can easily enable or disable access to features such as sports scores, movies, news, etc. Also, the web pages open substantially quicker, as it’s a lighter app altogether.
Overall, Google Go offers the best of the standard Google Search app while managing to keep the app size and data usage down.
Download: Google Go (Free)
Android Go Apps: Small in Size, Not in Features
As a whole, the concept of Android Go apps is pretty amazing. Considering the fact that these lightweight apps support most of the features of the regular ones, you’d choose most of them over the full-featured ones any day.
Like the idea of Android Go apps? Check out this list of lite versions of other popular Android apps.