Google Tools

Foreceipt: A better way to keep track of expenses

A promotional screenshot from Foreceipt.com

Foreceipt allows journalists and anyone else who travels for work to create detailed expense reports by taking photos of receipts. It allows options to edit the information for various business needs, which may be particularly useful for freelancers. The app links your Google Drive account and sends copies of your receipts into Foreceipt folder in your account. This free application is available on Apple’s App Store with a current 4.4 rating. The only drawback is you have to allow access to your Google Account for the application to work properly. — Jacob Santo

Google Advanced Search

☀☀☀☀☀ Google’s advanced search features make research easier and faster. Most know the basic Google search bar, but many are unaware of advanced search. The Google News Lab tutorial, or the optional pdf download of the lesson, quickly help explain how to use this tool. Search by “exact word or phrase” by putting it in quotes. A minus sign as in olympics -2008 excludes the word immediately after the minus. Journalists, and everyone, can benefit from advanced search. Such tools help Google outshine many competitors, such as Bing, which is nowhere near as helpful or user-friendly.  Nisa Ayral

Google Earth

☀☀☀ The free Google Earth app is a virtual map that can be manually operated. Easy to navigate, the five-step tutorial explains how to observe locations around the world. Your own location can be used and you can search for any town, city, or state. If you do not have a set destination in mind, the app provides a short video tour. It was entertaining to explore. For journalists, this provides a visual aid to news stories, illustration, video and educational tours. Julia Bashaw

☀☀☀☀ The world is now literally at your fingertips. Google Earth lets you explore the globe at will. Find the Eiffel Tower. Swipe to the Golden Gate Bridge. This tool is fun and interactive, though not as good for finding directions as Google Maps. Headed to an unfamiliar place? Use Google Earth get an up-to-date idea of how it will look. Journalists can use Google Earth to illustrate their stories. You will need a strong Wifi or data connection; the 3D renderings take a while to load (some report the app even crashing). Available on iOS and Android. Cat Supawit

Google Maps

☀☀☀☀☀ Google Maps is precise, quick and simple to use. Arrival times for the various modes of transportation are accurate. Google Maps is recognized as a great tool.  Not only will it redirect journalists who get lost on assignment, it will point out traffic delays. Additionally, the “explore” feature is useful for finding places to eat in an unfamiliar area. It’s available on Google Play and iTunes. — Leah Soto

Google Voice

☀☀☀☀ The Google Voice app will probably be the reason I drop Verizon. Calling and texting is free (as long as you’re on Wifi). The app accesses  your contacts and after that you can call anyone on any carrier. This would be helpful to journalists in that they could call anywhere in the world cheaply. There are pros and cons, but overall it is worth trying. The app has an upgrade to make the sound quality crystal clear. — Connor Van Siclen

☀☀☀ Google Voice transcribes and preserves voicemail online. The tool can save journalists time by creating the first written drafts of voice messages. Users can add notes to voicemails and share them like email. Journalists could use a Google Voice number instead of their personal number for privacy protection; you can even use this service to make inexpensive international phone calls. Free calls are limited to the United States. New members will need to sign in with their Google account or create a new account. — Scotty Bara

PhotoScan

☀☀☀ The Google PhotoScan app builds off of the Google Photos app. Convert your old printed pictures into high-quality digital copies. PhotoScan eliminates glare. As an avid user of Google apps, I had high expectations. Yet there are mixed reviews, though the Google name has drawn more than 200 million users. Example: the auto-crop feature cropped my pictures at a weird angle. (I had to fix some of them after.) That said, PhotoScan does eliminate glare. At times a reporter needs to copy a photo, and if your camera app is not up to the task, try Photoscan. — Hailey Koebrick

Google Drive

☀☀☀☀☀ Google Drive works on PC’s, Android or iOS, offering 15 gigabytes of free storage, more if you pay. All files uploaded to Google Drive are backed up. Changes to files are saved automatically as you produce slideshows, documents, spreadsheets and more. Invite others (by email) to work on a document at the same time. My journalism course (Innovation Tools 494) uses it in and out of class. In today’s world, people don’t have to physically be together to work on a project.  — Sarah Hunt

☀☀☀☀ I need apps that put my desktop into my phone. Google Drive is a collaborative tool that links all your projects from Docs, Sheets, Slides and Photos on the Google server. Write a document on your laptop, edit it on your phone. Grant permission for others to work on the same project. Click on a file and it seamlessly opens in the right software. The app could be better though, if auxiliary apps were not needed. For example, documents in Google Drive cannot be edited without the Google Docs app. Still, if collaboration is your goal, I recommend Google Drive over Dropbox. — Hailey Koebrick

Google News and Weather

☀☀☀☀ Google News & Weather is the kind of app you want to wake up to in the morning. It features more than 65,000 news sources from 60 countries. You can customize by topic or place all the way down to micro-local news. The app helps journalists stay current, and is being integrated with the Accelerated Mobile Pages project for publishers. Since this free app ties to your Google account, it is more popular on Android phones than iPhones, which compete with Apple News. No other app has access to such breadth and depth of news.  — Scotty Bara

Google Keep

☀☀☀☀☀ For a journalist keeping track of notes, Google Keep is a versatile and powerful option. It is the one tool I recommend for every reporter. Notes can be anything from plain text to photos to audio files. You can access the content on any device through your Google account. The free app’s simple interface uses the best of Google software, making costly apps such as Notability redundant. — Chris McCrory

Password Alert

☀☀☀☀ Password Alert helps Google users avoid online phishing. It alerts users when their Google password is entered into non-Google sites, and warns them before entering a questionable site. Users can reset a password or ignore the alert when it is sent. This is potentially useful for journalists who may be searching the web, concerned about deadline, not using caution. Given its low maintenance and the fact that it’s free, this extension is worth taking a look at. The downside, it’s available only through and on a Chrome browser. — Olivia Davila