12 Google Messaging Apps: A Grand Tour

12 Google Messaging Apps: A Grand Tour

Get this, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has not one, not two, not three but 12 messaging apps. You would think that a tech giant like Google would be interested in developing a single app that does everything for everyone, but that’s not the case. In fact, the tech giant seems focused on improving each app to be the best at what it does, so that users can choose the service that best suits their needs.

Here’s a quick look at how each app works.

Google Messaging Apps

Google Voice

Launched by Google on March 11, 2009, Google Voice is the tech giant’s oldest VoIP product. The app includes a free phone number for U.S. users and you can instruct it to ring your cell phone, work or home phone, or all three, whenever someone calls your Voice number. You can also instruct the app to send SMS texts and voicemails to Hangouts.

Google Hangouts

This is a unified communications service that allows you to initiate and participate in video, voice and text chats, either one-on-one or in a group. Hangouts is built into Gmail and Google+. The mobile app is available for both Android and iOS devices.

Project Fi

This is a phone carrier from Google that works by giving you mobile data service on three mobile networks that your phone will intelligently switch between. It uses WiFi to send texts and to make calls. Unlike traditional carriers that bill you after you use their service, Project Fi is a “prepaid” carrier, which means that you pay upfront for your service in the trailing month. Fi is currently available only to U.S. users who own either Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 6 or Pixel smartphones.

Google Duo 

Google Duo is a simple video-calling service that allows you to connect with your customers on both Android and iOS. It is one of the two communication apps launched by Google at the 2016 I/O conference. Its standout feature is Knock Knock, which gives you a preview of who is calling by firing up the camera on the other end of the line. 

Inbox by Gmail

Inbox by Gmail is an email service that was developed and launched by Google in limited edition on October 2014 and later released to the public in May 2015.

Inbox intelligently bundles similar messages together, allowing you to dismiss all of them with a single click. It also highlights important events such as trips and clusters together hotel and flight information.

Gmail

One of the most familiar of Google’s messaging options, this is a free, advert supported email service that’s available on the web and also through mobile apps for iOS and Android. Unlike the newbie Inbox, Gmail has an All mail folder, experimental “Labs” add-ons and extensive options in settings that include Blocked Addresses and Filters.

Google Chat 

Before the standalone Hangouts app came, you could still place VoIP calls and instant messages from Google+ and Gmail using Chat. The instant messaging service is colloquially known as gchat, gtalk or gmessage, but they are not Google endorsed. Chat remains embedded on Gmail.

Google Allo

Launched in May 2016, Google Allo is a Smart messaging app for iPhone and Android. Allo works for group chats, allows you to send pictures, share fun stickers and so on. Allo is great for talking to the Google Assistant.

Google Groups

Launched in February 2001, Google Groups is 16 years old! The service provides discussion groups for people sharing common interests.  A good number of people still use Groups because they at some point joined a group and that’s where the conversations still takes place.

Google+

During its first years, Google+ allowed users to send texts, emails, edit and share photos as well as make video calls. A few years ago, Google changed its all-in-one approach, becoming more like a cross between Facebook and Reddit. The platform’s content is organized by “Collections” that make it easy for you to find relevant content.

Google Spaces

This social service by Google is less than a year old. Spaces makes it easier to find and share images, articles and videos without leaving the app as Google Search, Chrome and YouTube come built in. 

Google Messenger

Messenger from Google is a communications app that helps you to send and receive MMS and SMS messages to any phone. The app has a great interface and supports text, pictures, emoji and GIFs. You can make it your default texting app that people can always text you on. Messenger is only available to Android users.

[“Source-smallbiztrends”]

25 Android and iPhone Apps to Add a Second Phone Number for Business Only Calls

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls

A smartphone is just as much a business communication device as it is a personal one. But using a single number for both on your phone is unprofessional and unnecessarily problematic. But smartphone technology and the many apps available in the marketplace allow you to easily get a second phone number avoiding these problems entirely.

If your phone can accept a second SIM card, you can get another number from your service provider. However, if you don’t want to use this option or can’t because you don’t have a secondary SIM slot, you can use an app to get a second number on your phone.

Why Get a Separate Business Number?

First, it clearly separates your personal and business conversations, while at the same time protecting your personal private number. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about figuring out who is calling you because the dedicated line identifies it. Last but not least, it gives you a professional appearance.

Some apps may have either a free version or trial period, so if you can, try them out before you purchase a plan. And be sure to read the fine print, because unlimited calls, SMS and text are in most cases between users of the app.

Second Phone Number Apps for Small Businesses

Here are 25 apps you can use to add a second number. All of the second phone number apps are available for Android and iOS, except for LineUp, Numbers Plus, Second Phone Number, and Swytch, which are only for iOS.

GoDaddy Smartline

The GoDaddy SmartLine was just announced recently by the domain name company. You can get a local phone number with a US area code plus customizable voicemail, business hour ring option, text messages and more. You can try it free for 30 days.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - GoDaddy Smartline

Burner

Burner is one of the more popular apps for creating a secondary number. It was originally designed to create a temporary number, but permanent options are now available. The mini burner will give you 14 days with limited talk time and text messages, while the permanent version is a monthly plan for as long as you need the number. There is also a three-line plan if you happen to need more numbers.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Burner

Google Voice

With Google Voice, all you need is a Google account to get a new phone number. The calls can be routed to your mobile phone, computer, home, office or another location. In addition to standard calling features, the app also transcribes voicemail messages to text.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Google Voice

Hushed

Like Burner, Hushed has temporary and permanent options for your second phone number. It starts with a free number for three days, followed by seven-day and permanent plans you have to pay for. Features include custom voicemail messages and call-forwarding.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Hushed

Dingtone

Dingtone gives you a free US number so you can make calls or text to any landline or mobile device in over 230 countries. The company uses its dedicated VoIP network to deliver HD voice and also provides instant messaging to share photos, videos, locations and contacts. Yearly and monthly subscriptions are available in the US, UK, Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Dingtone

Free Tone

Free Tone says it gives you unlimited free calls and texts to U.S. and Canadian phone numbers when you get your own number from any area code with no trials or hidden costs. The company uses VoIP technology to deliver the service. The free calls only apply to the contiguous US and Canada, so make sure you check if you plan calling anywhere else.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Free Tone

CoverMe

CoverMe gives you end-to-end encryption to make secure private calls and send texts with your new number. The app also has a private vault to hide photos, videos, passwords and files. You can get US and Canadian numbers for many different area codes.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - CoverMe

Cloudphone

Cloud Phone  describes itself as a business phone system for managing your business and personal calls. It includes one touch access to call recording, conference calling, eavesdrop, voicemail transcription and flip call features. The app includes a professional company greeting and an auto attendant for call routing, voicemail and call forwarding.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Cloudphone

iPlum

iPlum has domestic and international functionality with support for 22 global languages on smartphones and tablets. You pay as you go by only purchasing the credits you need for your second number. You can port your existing phone number with caller ID, dedicated voicemail, call forwarding and picture and video messaging.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - iPlum

Line2

Line2 offers full feature business phone systems for your second number starting with 1,500 minutes of outbound calling or forwarding. You can get a number in any city in the U.S. or Canada with visual caller ID, group calling and messaging, number blocking and more.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Line2

LineUp

The second number LineUp provides offers texting, photo messaging, calling and voicemail. The subscription-free pricing lets you use the number for a single call or long-term use. The company also provides vanity numbers for your business with calling and texting features. The calling and texting minutes you pay for roll over instead of expiring, and they are good for any LineUp numbers you have.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - LineUp

Numbers Plus

Numbers Plus lets you create multiple numbers and keep them as long as you want. Currently it only supports US and Canadian numbers for making calls and texting. You can try it for free and use the in-app purchase feature for additional time and numbers.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Numbers Plus

Phoner

The Phoner app has a random phone number generator to quickly give you a temporary or permanent number. Once you get the number, you can access reverse phone number lookup, phone call recording functions, anonymous texting and calling, along with SMS and MMS.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Phoner

Ring4

Ring4 gives you a local or international number in 20 countries with features such as text with emoji, call recording, do not disturb mode and more. If you make international calls, you can make or receive calls and texts overseas with a US number, with no roaming charges.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Ring4

TalkU

TalkU gives you a free second number to make and receive calls in the US and internationally. Call any mobile or landline phone number in more than 200 countries with unlimited free calling and texting between TalkU users. Features include Visual voicemail with instant listening, call screens, group calling with free group conference calls, and walkie-talkie.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - TalkU

Talkatone

Talkatone gives you a free US or Canadian phone number to make free calls in those countries. Inbound international calls are also free, with monthly subscription fee for making calls to select countries. The app supports ads, but you can pay for the service to have them removed.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Talkatone

Swytch

Swytch has designed its app so businesses can give their employees work mobile numbers, instead of work mobile phones. This is a great cost effective option for many small businesses. For the employees it means not having to change personal handset, network operator or SIM card. And for business owners, it means saving on the purchase of increasingly expensive smartphones.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Swytch

Sideline

Sideline built its business with a free version loaded with features, but now it is only available as a paid service. Still the high-quality features such as auto-attendant, along with standard calling options seem worth the price for many businesses.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Sideline

Second Phone Number

Second Phone Number  gives you as many numbers as you want with monthly or yearly subscriptions. The phone numbers are available for 31 countries with features including contact management, numbers for specific business use, texting, SMS and more.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Second Phone Number

Telos

Telos gives you unlimited calling and texting with a second phone number. You can get a US phone number in any area code as well as international numbers in several countries. Calls can be forwarded to any landline or mobile number with voicemail, auto reply messages and blocking features.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Telos

Textfree

Textfree starts with free text messages, inbound calls and limited outbound calls for your second number. It is important to remember you have to use your free number at least once within a 30 day period or the company will reclaim it. You can keep the paid numbers for as long as you want.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Textfree

TextMe Up

TextMe Up lets you manage as many numbers as you like and switch between multiple numbers in one screen. Features include HD voice and video calling, as well as group messages with texting, photo and video sharing. You can call numbers in the US, Canada, UK and 200 countries with monthly plans.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - TextMe Up

Textplus

Textplus provides real free US phone numbers with unlimited free SMS text and MMS to any US or Canadian number. While inbound calls are free, you can only make ad-supported free calls. If you don’t want the ads, you can opt for the paid service. The app uses push notifications to instantly deliver text messages. You can also send emojis, stickers, animated GIFs, and voice notes with support for group blast messaging.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Textplus

Virtual Phone

You can place and receive calls and text messages to any phone number or SIP device with Virtual Phone. The app includes features to keep track of all caller information, such as geographical location, time zone, caller’s name, and phone. Advanced business call management and routing rules, interactive voice menus, custom greetings, multiple voice mailboxes and more are also available.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - Virtual Phone

WhatsCall

WhatsCall lets you make calls to users even if they don’t have the app or an internet connection. It includes one touch recording for incoming and outgoing calls, call block and caller ID. The company has different offers to earn credit for free calls, including watching ads, playing games, completing tasks and inviting friends.

25 Android and iPhone Second Phone Number Apps for Business Only Calls - WhatsCallMan With 2 Smartphones Photo via Shutterstock

[“Source-smallbiztrends”]

10 Apps for Creating a Digital Business Card

10 Apps for Creating a Digital Business Card

Just about everything has gone digital. Handing over a business card to a new business lead is no different. It’s just click or two away on your mobile device.

In today’s tech-savvy world, there are apps that design, store and send digital business cards to other mobile devices.

With digital business cards, you no longer need to rummage around a drawer overflowing with business cards to follow-up on a connection. These apps make it easier than ever to organize your connections.

Apps For Creating a Digital Business Card

Here are 10 apps that you can use to create your digital business card:

SnapDat

SnapDat is a free digital business card app that easily integrates with iPhone Address book. SnapDat business cards “SnapCards” can be shared though email or via the app. The app allows you to create multiple digital business cards for different purposes. And it’s convenient for both personal and business use.

CamCard

CamCard is among the best business card apps, and for a good reason. It is intuitive as it is able to read and scan cards in over 15 languages. It also allows you to import information from social media feeds. While you can try it for free, the app will set you back $5 per user per month for the Team package and $12 per user per month for the business package.

Knowee

Knowee offers several key features including, clickable links and thumbnails, an in-depth storage system, and you can also make direct calls from the card. The app has free Basic and Premium plans for a year, while the Business plan costs between 74 cents and $3.55 per user per month.

Inigo

This app allows you to manage your digital business cards in your app’s back office and create templates that you can deploy to your team’s smartphones. Inigo works with both Apple and Android devices. The standard version, appropriate for teams, is $5.49 per month, billed annually. A free version is also available.

Haystack

This is a modern business card solution that allows anyone to receive your cards even if they don’t have the app installed. Haystack also allows you to scan, share, update and store contact info with a simple scan of the card. You can also easily create your card from scratch. This app costs $4 per month for Premium plan and $199 per month for Enterprise plan. A Forever Free plan is also available.

eVaunt

This application allows you to create digital business cards with a responsive design that’s optimized for mobile devices and a unique web page address. eVaunt also allows you to embed a Google Map, upload a profile photo as well as display social networking icons.

OneCard

This is one of the best electronic cards out there. The platform allows you to create a digital hub giving your customers the option to choose how they connect with you. For instance, you can have a small bio telling a little more about yourself. You can also have a video introduction as well as all your social networks in one place. OneCard has a free plan, but if you are looking for pro options then you will have to part with $12 per month or $120 per year.

Clinck

Available for both Android and iOS, this free digital business card app allows you to create, store and send your contacts to all interested parties. Clinck allows you to add a personal message, photo, logo or LinkedIn profile, together with clickable links to your website.

about.me

Then there’s about.me which allows you to turn your page on the app into a shareable electronic business card you can send via email or your phone. You can share any combination of information from your about.me page including your email, phone number, photo and more. Your recipients can then save your details in their phone’s address book.

Icon

This is a digital business card app that allows you to create a rich, dynamic presentations culled from your social media content. Icon automatically aggregates content from your business’ social feeds including networks like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The app is available for both Android and iOS users.

[“Source-smallbiztrends”]

Wire App Offers a Clutter-Free Chat Experience

Wire App Offers a Clutter-Free Chat Experience

 

Even though most people use WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger for chatting, there is no dearth of alternatives available. There are privacy-focused options such as Telegram, and sticker-filled apps such as WeChat, so there is a messaging app for every purpose. One such app, Wire, takes a slightly different approach.

Wire’s appeal lies in its simple, clutter-free design that is suitable for both professional and personal use. The app, which is backed by Skype co-founder Janis Friis, let’s you chat, share images, and make voice calls to other Wire users. Like WhatsApp, and some other apps, Wires uses your phone’s contact list to quickly connect you to other users you know. It has recently launched a Windows app to complement its iOS, Android, OS X, and Web apps. Wire’s group calling feature and clean interface made us wonder if it could find a niche that swears by the app. We used the app on various platforms to find out.

True to its claim, Wire does have a neat interface. With a white background, a large and clean font, and a relatively minimalist interface, it looks good and is easy to use. You can sign up with your phone number or email address. This reviewer couldn’t sign up via SMS because he received the verification message around two hours too late, but two colleagues didn’t face this issue, and were able to sign up and verify their numbers without any issues. If you do face this problem, you can always go to Wire’s website and sign up using an email address, which is also hassle free.

wire_ipad_soundcloud.jpg

Wire was snappier than WhatsApp, Messenger, or Slack (which we use for office-wide chat) and it helped that the app looks really nice too. The Web interface had all the same features and worked without any problems – we had to create a password using our phone, and after that, we could log into Wire through the browser. The new Windows app works just like the Web interface, and looks the same too.

The biggest annoyance we had with Wire was its insistence on making you upload a profile picture. One of our colleagues didn’t do this on the Mac app and he was greeted with a large pop-up asking him to upload a picture. This pop-up couldn’t be closed without uploading a picture and the colleague was locked out of the app until he did. The only way for him to chat with us was to click on Wire’s chat notifications. But if no one messaged him, he couldn’t use the app without a picture.

wire_mac_app_no_image.jpg

Wire lets you upload pictures, add gifs as you type (with Giphy integration), and ping your contacts in case you want to ensure that they haven’t missed your message. The calling feature also worked as expected. Wire worked surprisingly well on a 2G connection, even for calls, but when a colleague sent us a gif, the app just stopped working. It couldn’t load the gif on the slow 2G connection and it wouldn’t let us send or receive messages until the gif could be loaded. We were left wishing for a setting to disable pre-loading of pictures or gifs on cellular connections.

When the Internet connection was fast, Wire worked very well for us. Messages were sent and received instantly and we found ourselves happy with the app overall. It pre-loads URLs from SoundCloud, Spotify (not available in India though), YouTube, and Vimeo, which is a nice touch. We wish it would pre-load URLs from all websites – to reveal the title and summary of articles, for example, similar to what Slack does – but that isn’t a big miss considering that it’s not really an enterprise-focused app. All of Wire’s apps are pretty good overall, when you get past annoyances such as uploading a profile picture.

But we wish that some of the polish seen in Wire’s design was also seen in the UX. For example, if you read a chat on Wire’s Web view, you’d still get a notification on your smartphone. This smartphone notification doesn’t go away if you read the chat on any other platform, unlike what we’ve seen with other modern apps.

wire_vimeo_integration.jpg

Wire is a nice messaging app overall that could use a little bit of polish to get rid of annoyances. We’d recommend it for semi-professional groups who need a chat app that doesn’t have a million friends and family members bothering you every minute. For this to be effective, make sure that you don’t give the app access to your contacts while signing up, and manually add people you know to your groups. The app is light, loads quickly, and looks great. The downside is that all the people you know are already using WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

On the other hand, WhatsApp looks clunky in comparison and lacks the kind of integrations Wire gives you, and the WhatsApp Web interface feels like a hack, though it works just fine. But it’s still the platform where everyone including your forgotten relatives can reach you. Facebook Messenger has many of the same advantages, and is equally usable on a PC or a smartphone.

This network effect that the existing apps enjoy is going to be difficult for Wire and other newcomers to overcome, without some unique offering to really make them stand out.

 

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]