If you’re looking for a lightweight search tool, Google Go is it.
Google Go is a streamlined version of the Google app that works well on Android devices with limited space and internet speed.
It’s no surprise Google has a large library of Android apps, but there’s one you’ve likely never heard of. The main “Google” app is a cornerstone, but there’s also the lesser-known “Google Go.” You might want to try it.
What Is Google Go?
Simply put, Google Go is a lightweight version of the Google app for Android devices with limited storage space and slow internet connections. Originally launched in India in 2017, Google Go was made available worldwide for Android devices in 2019.
The standard Google app for Android is absolutely jam-packed with features. All of those features add up—the app comes in at around 500MB when it’s on your device. Add in the user data and cache, and you’re looking at well over 1GB.
Compare that to the Google Go app, which is only 31MB on your device—12MB in the Play Store. That’s a significant difference when your device doesn’t have much storage space or RAM. These types of devices typically run “Android Go,” but the Google Go app can run on any Android device, even a high-end model.
Google Go Features
Google Go does not have as many features as the full Google app, of course, but that doesn’t mean it’s lackluster. Several of the key Google features are still present in the lightweight version.
The Google Discover feed is available in the Go app, and it includes the same customization features to fine-tun the feed to your liking. The Google Lens icon can be found in the search bar just like in every other Google product, too. Also in the search bar is a microphone, which launches Google Assistant. Oh, and you can switch into Incognito Mode, too.
That’s the core of the Google Go experience. It’s essentially the search tools boiled down to their most basic forms, plus the Google Discover feed. For a lot of people, that may be all they need—the simple ability to do Google searches with your keyboard, camera, or voice.
There are plenty of other “Go” versions of popular Google apps that have similar condensed features. If you’re looking to save battery and data, they’re worth a look.
Android One vs. Android Go
We mentioned “Android Go” earlier, but what is Android Go? You may have also heard of “Android One,” which is another Google initiative for low-cost Android devices, but not the same as Android Go.
Android Go is a special version of the Android operating system that has been tuned for devices with 2GB of RAM or less. The full Android experience is too big to run well on those types of devices. Android Go can run lighter, faster, and save data.
Android One is the name for a line of phones managed by Google that must meet certain hardware requirements. These devices must use unmodified Android, get regular security updates, and abide by maximum hardware specifications.
In short, Android Go is the software side, while Android One is the hardware side. Android One phones may run Android Go, but it’s not a requirement. As of July 2023, it’s not clear if Google is even continuing the Android One program, but Android Go is still, well, a go.