Apps come and apps go but some are so useful that they quickly become part of our daily routine. Whether it’s checking the traffic before you set off, or touching up your holiday photos and sharing them with friends online, some apps are undoubtedly more useful than others. Here’s a pick of our current favourites.
Google Weather (Mobile browser)
Not such an app this one, but Google recently added a bit of fun to how it displays weather information on its search results pages in the mobile browser. After bringing in a user experience designer and an engineer, the display now allows you to play with the results. You can now move a slider over the next 12 hours and see a detailed hour-by-hour breakdown of the changing weather conditions in your selected location. Temperature, wind speed and humidity all change as you slide through the day. Point your iPhone or Android-powered device to Google.com, search for ‘weather’ and then enter your location. You can then add the service to your homepage for future reference.
Picplz (Android / Apple)
This free photo app is available on both the Android and Apple app stores and it allows you to take photos and upload them to your favourite social networking sites in just a few clicks. You can easily add a caption, tag your location and share over the likes of Twitter and Facebook. One of the best things about this app, though, is the various effects you can apply to your photos. Current apps include Instant Film, Russian Toy Camera, the 70s, and High Contrast Monochrome. If you’re looking for a quick way to upload good-looking photos to share with the your friends and family, picplz is well worth checking out.
Free Wi-Fi (iPhone, iPad)
There’s nothing worse than having to rely on a dodgy 3G connection to keep you hooked up to the net. But if the thought of losing a signal in the middle of a Skype conversation fills you with dread, then take a look at JiWire’s Global Free Wi-Fi app. As the name suggests, it lets you to find free wi-fi hotspots, wherever you are in the world. The app uses your iPhone’s GPS and network triangulation capabilities to locate free wireless hotspots, and you can search based on your current location or search specific regions. You can also filter by location type (cafe, library) and new hotspots are added daily. The latest update (Version 2.6) includes a new iPad landscape view, improved map view GPS accuracy, a smaller memory footprint and a couple of bug fixes.
New Zealand Traffic Cameras (Android)
Being able to accurately predict the traffic on your way to and from work would be a great skill to have. Unfortunately there’s no such thing as magic, so that’s not going to happen. But having a look at the highways as you sip your morning coffee can give you an idea of what your journey time is likely to be. New Zealand Traffic Cameras beams out live pictures of gridlock across Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Tauranga and Dunedin. The developers say that the app works on all Android versions, and they actively seek your feedback to improve its quality. And they don’t even charge you a cent for it.
Got a favourite app you want to share? Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.