32 essential Android tips and tricks

Several weeks ago, we highlighted 40 useful iPhone tricks everyone should know. We got such good feedback from that feature that we wanted to share the love with Android users – who, after all, make up the largest proportion of the smart phone community.

7. Google Voice integration

With careful setup, Google Voice can replace regular texting on your phone. Here's the dialog box that allows Voice to capture incoming text messages.

One of the best things about Android is its tight integration with the Google Apps suite. The Gmail client, for example, is leaps and bounds ahead of its iOS counterpart, giving you the ability to tag, filter, switch accounts, and do just about everything you can do on the desktop version. Maybe the most versatile member of the Google Apps squad, though, is Google Voice.

Voice gives you a new phone number (or you can carry over your existing mobile number) that is tied to your Google account. You can do all sorts of nifty things with this number, like setting different voicemail greetings for different callers, forwarding the number to a separate line (or two), and having voicemails automatically transcribed to text so you can read them like regular messages. If you're moving to a new city, you might also consider signing up for a Google Voice number with a local area code – that way you can hang on to your original number, but also get the benefits of local calling rates.

With the proper setup, you can also use Google Voice to get free texts – even if your phone plan doesn't include texting. Your Google Voice number can both send and receive texts for free, and your Android phone will give you the option to use that Voice number as the default. Alternatively, you can tell it to forward texts as emails (you'll be able to respond to incoming texts by email, as well). As long as you keep the data portion of your phone plan, you can pretty safely drop the messaging part.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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