Contrary to what the assignment sounded like, last month’s Google Cafe was actually a cross-city treasure hunt ala Amazing Race-style. The catch: we had to use Google apps on our smartphones to complete our tasks.
The whole thing took up half a Saturday, but it was worth it – ‘cause this R.AGE reporter and his BRATs partner Kenneth Choong embraced their inner awesomeness to clinch second place.
Oh, did we mention we each won a sleek LG G-watch?
Our adventure started at the trendy Google office in Kuala Lumpur where we got our first set of instruction cards. It led us, first, to an ice kacang stall which was on the way to our final destination – the Mah Meri Cultural Village, about an hour away from the city.
We came in sixth out of seven teams, as we had taken a prior wrong turn, leaving us with only an hour to complete the many new tasks we were assigned. And for each task, we had to fiddle with our newly downloaded Google apps.
The app usage part was easy, but we can’t say the same for the tasks, which included having to learn how to make weavings, navigate to hidden locations and hunt for clues.
Along the way, we made our comeback, clinching the runner-up title, and discovering how convenient the Google apps were. And we must say, we were pleasantly surprised.
Here are the highlights of some of our app discoveries.
1. Google (search)
No, it’s not the Chrome app that you use to browse content over the web. Did you know there is a dedicated Google search app that simplifies the effort of plucking information off the web? It’s really handy, too!
The app opens into a simple interface that replicates the default Google search page and its’ functions. Yet, it has extra voice recognition capabilities – you can search, make reminders or ask for suggestions by voice!
Here’s a quick fun fact: the navigation app Waze was actually acquired by Google in 2013. In fact, Google has been integrating some of Waze’s technology into its native Maps app, too.
So, really, using either is a very reliable way of getting around heavy traffic, as both tend to take traffic flow into consideration when navigating. For Maps, however, you get an added bonus in the form of Street View, which not many know even exists for mobile devices. We certainly didn’t.
Imagine Whatsapp, Viber and Skype all in one app, that’s the Google Hangouts app for you. It’s a really cool social app, essentially allowing you to send messages and make video/conference calls. But here’s where it gets interesting – you can actually connect with people on their PC, through Gmail. They just have to upgrade their Chat to Hangouts!
This was the focal app of the entire adventure as we had to upload all our images, videos and text from our activities into a dedicated folder. Many of us are probably already familiar with Google Drive, so being able to conveniently access it through the smartphone was even handier.
The neat thing about Drive on your smartphone is that it is literally linked to every other Google app on your mobile device, making it extremely easy to extract and add files. You can even create and edit text documents from inside Drive, too.
— R.AGE (@thestar_rage) December 20, 2014