Tech Tuesday: There’s an App for That!


Image by César Poyatos via Flickr (Creative Commons License)

You are at CVS picking up a fresh tube of toothpaste and that shampoo your hairdresser recommended when a familiar song rings through the store’s speakers. You hum along . . . yes, here comes the chorus. But what song is it? The frustration of not being able to conjure up the name of a song or artist has haunted us all. But don’t fret: There’s an app for that. If you have an Android or Apple iOS smart phone or tablet, you can download thousands of free apps dedicated to helping you find the information that you want.

For example, you want to know the song playing at CVS or on the radio. Clearly, the Google search “What the heck is the name of the song that is playing right now?” will not get you very far. But Shazam, an app that records sound directly from your handheld device and matches the audio to its database, will tell you the title, artist, and album of the song that you are listening to in mere seconds.

This review will introduce you to free apps that will make answering complicated questions like “What should I cook tonight?” and “Where is my friend’s blouse from—without her knowing, of course?” simpler than ever before.


The Simple Search
Sometimes what you are looking for is straightforward. If your search is as easy as “Did Ringo Starr write any Beatles songs?” or “What is the name of Michelle Obama’s brother?”, then the Google search app will work (yes, Craig Robinson). For a one-touch search of the web by text or voice, download the Google app for iPhone or iPad, or Android devices.


Search by Image
Suppose you are taking a stroll in the city. You see a stylish woman your age wearing a delicate gray sweater that you think would go perfectly with your favorite black slacks; you want to know where she got that sweater and how much it costs. Next, you come across a strange, modern-looking sculpture with no label: What is it? Who designed it? The apps Google Goggles for Android, and CamFind for iOS, search for information based on pictures that you take on your smart phone. To find out about the sweater or the sculpture, simply take a picture of the object on your phone, and these apps will not only identify the object but also provide related links with information about the object. Object recognition has myriad uses: scanning QR codes and barcodes, recognizing people, landmarks, and art, translating foreign languages, searching for similar products, and even solving Sudoku puzzles.

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  • Ruth Nathan April 12, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    So helpful!!! Thanks, Amy.

  • elsa j April 7, 2015 at 9:39 am

    fantastic article! what an incredible world we live in and how helpful this article is in showing us how to navigate and make the most of what’s available

  • Jeden Dvatre April 7, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Learning a lot from this series of excellent tech articles – thanks.

  • Andrew April 1, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Is there an app for liking this article and author?!?!

  • Andy March 31, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Can’t wait to try these apps. Thanks

  • Roz Warren March 31, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    This is amazing information!! I’m so glad that WomensVoices is covering tech stuff. I need all the help I can get when it comes to this topic.

  • Liz Robbins March 31, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Great article. Wonderful App recommendations. These tech articles are a big help.