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Nexus 5 Review, Pt. 3: Google’s Internet Experience

We’ve covered parts 1 and 2 of the Nexus 5 review, both of which pertain to Google’s hardware design in the Nexus 5 as well as Google’s apps and services. In part 3 of this review, however, we will cover Google’s internet services and see what Google’s internet experience is like as compared to other manufacturers.

As always, Google rules the stage when it comes to the ease of web browsing and internet surfing.

Google Your Way Onto Google: Google’s Search Engine Encounter 

Nexus 5 Internet Notifications

Did you think that Google’s Nexus 5 is restricted to hardware and software only? Google is not only a master at making its own software; the company also excels at its Internet offering. Google owns the Google search engine that so many in my generation have grown accustomed to over the years, and it was jarring when Apple removed Google as the primary search engine in iOS 7 in favor of Bing. Microsoft has been on the offensive against Google, publishing “Scroogled” ads that tell American users to “don’t get scroogled” out of their personal information. In every commercial, we hear the same statement over and over again: “Google reads your email so that they can send ads.” This, according to many, is a violation of American privacy rights – or so the claim goes.

Nexus 5 swipe-to-internet access feature

At the same time, however, one cannot understand the beauty behind Google’s watching eye until you realize what Google does with all this information. One cannot see the good in all of this until you get to Google’s very own search engine and internet access. How do you come to the internet with the Nexus 5? Interestingly enough, you don’t need to click a browser (Chrome, in this case) icon to get there; all you need to do is swipe from the left to the right of your main screen, and the internet appears. Within two seconds, you’re on the internet. Although there’s a Chrome browser icon available on the Nexus 5, you may decide you don’t need to use it anymore with Google’s swipe-to-access offering.

Google’s swipe-to-access internet feature is one of the most under-discussed features that makes the Nexus 5 offering unique. Since the company owns the Google search engine, internet integration gets taken to a whole new level with the Nexus 5 experience. As you can see, Google can get internet integration right where others cannot because of its reputation. My Samsung Galaxy Note 3 does so many things for me, but it does not give me an easy internet access feature like the Nexus 5 does.

Update: Google just announced the availability of its Google Now Launcher in the Play Store this week for all its Nexus devices. The Google Now Launcher is still not available for smartphones that lie outside of Google’s exclusive Nexus line, however. 

Once you swipe-to-access the internet, you stumble upon more amazing internet access. Google provides updates on sites you’ve visited as well as article topics you’ve read. Again, the implication from many privacy maniacs is that Google “scroogles” you in order to sell ads. But, tell me, where are the ads in this case? If Google is so concerned with ads, why is it that they care so much about customizing your unique experience on the web with topic updates and site updates that matter to you? Do they not do the same thing here that, say, HTC has now placed in its HTC One – the Twitter and social media updates every 15 minutes? With these offerings from HTC and Google, the goal is customization, personalization of common features that make your phone stand out to you. Let’s face it: no one wants his or her smartphone to mimic everyone else’s, and social media and news updates that are customized to your personal interests are one way to differentiate your phone look from that of another individual.

As such, Google is doing no more here than any other manufacturer. If we’re honest, Google only provides ads in the laptop/desktop PC experience. I’ve not seen one ad on the Nexus 5 Gmail app, nor have I seen an ad anywhere else on the Nexus 5 browsing experience. I’ve not seen one ad provided on the iPad tablet experience or Nexus 7 experience, either. As a result, the mobile experience does not provide ads that make you feel “scroogled”; the ad experience has been restricted, for now, to only the laptop/desktop experience. That may change in the future, but Google has decided to restrict ad growth for now.

The internet experience for Nexus 5 users is, thus, as ideal as it gets. Google provides updates on content that matter to you (such as Nokia’s new Lumia Icon at Verizon Wireless), as well as other topics and TV shows that you watch regularly. Since I am a major Law and Order: Special Victims Unit fan, Google always alerts me as to Law and Order: SVU shows, even reruns, that appear on television.

Google has also provided a TV remote experience in the Nexus 5, allowing users to turn their Bluetooth-enabled televisions to the show that’s currently on their Nexus 5 smartphone should they choose to watch it. IR blasters and Bluetooth access are two features that top-contender smartphones cannot live without. It seems then, that Google is interested in providing a customized, unique experience instead of a bland, “one-size-fits-all” approach. Knowing how to reach customers is a huge reason as to why the Nexus 5 experience with Google just feels like you’re comfortable in your own skin.

One other neat feature about internet notifications: Within your internet notifications on the Nexus 5 (and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and Android 4.4 KitKat, if not earlier), Google provides updates as to packages you’ve ordered on the Google search engine. My niece’s birthday was one week ago, and Google made sure to notify me that her package was on the way (as well as when it shipped and when it arrived). This Google package notification feature also allows you to track the package after you first order it, so that you can know where the package is at every moment before it arrives to your destination. I had never paid attention to this until using the Nexus 5, but it is also present on the Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy S4, and other Android devices as well – simply because these devices run Android. Nevertheless, this Nexus 5 review is about Google and Google’s credit for making this 2013 Nexus smartphone, so a word here about the Nexus 5’s package internet notifications is proper, indeed.

Final Thoughts About Reasons To Buy the LG Nexus 5

The LG Nexus 5 runs Android 4.4 KitKat, the most recent Android update in the tech world, so to buy the Nexus 5 is to buy a genuine treat (pun intended). Google’s “Halloween treat” has a lot of positives going for it, such as the device’s display size, bright screen resolution, memory storage, unlimited photo storage, and internet notifications. The pricing is one of the top reasons to buy the Nexus 5, seeing that the highest memory storage model (32GB) is only $50 more than the 16GB model (priced at $349; 32GB at $399). How many Android smartphones come off-contract for that kind of price?

When it comes to the internet and how to integrate the web with all the things that matter, look no further than Google’s LG Nexus 5. If you’re someone who enjoys all things Google, you’ll get a kick out of what the Nexus 5 has to offer.

We’ve taken a look at the LG Nexus 5’s positives, but we must also cover Nexus 5 drawbacks – and we’ll do it in the next post. Stay tuned. Until then, view our parts 1 and 2 of the Nexus 5 review below:




About Deidre Richardson

Deidre is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who discovered her interest for tech a little later in life. Since meeting the Samsung Galaxy S3, however, her life has been changed -- and tech's become such a big part of it. She currently owns four Samsung phones (GS3, GS4 Active, Note 3, GS5), and has owned the Galaxy Gear and Gear S smartwatches. In addition to Yologadget, Deidre writes for SamMobile.com, the largest Samsung fan site on the Web, as well as Smartwatch.me, and general tech site Aptgadget.com.