Android Expert Profiles

How I Use Android: Google Photos manager Indy Khare

The leader of one of Google's most useful Android apps shows us his personal blueprint for maximum mobile productivity.

How I use Android: Google Photos manager Indy Khare
JR Raphael

Android Expert Profiles

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Sure, your phone is a finely tuned productivity tool—but it's also a powerful personal computer that's practically always in your pocket. No matter how business-ready your mobile device may be, you're bound to take advantage of Android's non-work-related functions from time to time, too.

In other words: You're human. And like most other humans on Earth in 2017, you probably take the occasional one to 1,000 photos with your phone. (It's OK; I swear I won't tell your boss.)

For we hominids who use our smartphones as both business and personal appliances, Google Photos is a fantastic and familiar way to store, share and manage all of the images in our dual-purpose lives. That's why I thought it'd be interesting to see how one of the fellas who develops and manages such an indispensable app uses Android in his own day-to-day existence.

Indrajit Khare—better known as Indy—is the tech lead and manager of the Google Photos Android team. He came to Google by way of Bump, a startup focused on photo sharing (among other things) that the Big G acquired in 2013. (Bonus trivia: Bump's founder and CEO was David Lieb, who also came to Google following the acquisition and now heads up the entire Photos product.)

These days, Indy oversees all development of the Google Photos Android app. He's been building and designing smartphone apps since the earliest days of their existence—and so it goes without saying that this guy knows his way around mobile technology.

And that brings us back to this unusual Android Intelligence series. From the diverse range of hardware options to the virtually endless software-related possibilities, I've long maintained that no two people use Android the same way—and that you can learn a lot about someone and gain inspiration for your own mobile setup by seeing what type of picture they paint with the common Android palette.

So, let's all get acquainted, shall we? In his own words, this is how Indy Khare uses Android.

Android basics

Your current primary phone: I use a Pixel. It has all the same power as the Pixel XL but in a smaller package. I love the stock Android experience with the small tasteful enhancements made for Pixel, like auto-managed storage for Photos. The camera is also spectacular; the beauty of photos I’ve taken are just amazing. Here’s a photo from a recent trip to Olympic National Park:

Indy Khare Photo Indrajit Khare

What case is on your phone (if any): I use the Places live case from Google. It’s a black and yellow map of the Amazon river delta in northeastern Brazil. I love the meandering lines of the river contrasted with a dark ocean. A case is absolutely necessary for me, as I have basically cracked every phone I’ve used without a case within three months.

Your current tablet (if any): No tablet for me. I am 100 percent mobile. I fire up a laptop when I need a full keyboard experience.

Your current smartwatch (if any): Fitbit Charge 2. Not really a smart watch, but I am pretty bought into the Fitbit ecosystem. It does sleep tracking, exercise tracking, and I have the Aria smart scale to track my weight over time. The battery lasts about a week, too, so it’s one less thing to think about charging every night.

The home screen

A quick walk-through of your phone's home screen setup: My primary screen has both my most-used apps and apps I want to use if I am killing time. Notably, I don’t have any social media apps on my first screen because I want to actively be spending less time on social media. I also have a quick shortcut to my wife’s chat screen in Facebook Messenger.

Indy Khare Home Screen (1) Indrajit Khare

My second screen has important widgets: Keep and Calendar. Social media apps are in a folder, and there are a few other entertainment apps I use more often.

Indy Khare Home Screen (2) Indrajit Khare

That’s it. All other apps are not on the home screen because I don’t use them that often.

What launcher you're using: The Pixel Launcher. It’s the stock launcher that comes with Pixel. It’s fast, smooth and simple. It does the basics I care about really well, and Google Search is a single tap or swipe away.

What wallpaper you're using: Daily wallpaper for new cityscapes (from the Google Wallpapers app). I switch between cityscapes and landscapes. I like the variety it gives me.

Anything else of note (interesting customizations, special icons, etc): Nope—it’s all stock. I am trying out a bunch of internal apps, and that’s enough of living on edge for me.

The Android experience and the apps

What's one of your favorite Android-related tips or tricks?

Double-tapping on the recents button is a great way to switch back and forth between two apps you’re using often. It’s a hidden gem of a gesture that makes a huge amount of sense.

Beyond the obvious stock Google programs, what are a few apps you can't live without right now (and a quick word about why)?

Pocket Casts for podcasts has been my go-to podcast app for a while. It's great for catching up on interesting things while driving. My favorite is The Vergecast. Clearly these people enjoy their jobs.

Amazon Kindle is also a great one. I replaced my social media folder with the Kindle app so that I could read small bits of the books I am reading if I have a moment.

Google Keep has become an important tool for me. I can’t use to-do lists, but I just throw things in Keep, which feels like a giant wall of post-it notes, and can then glance over and pick the ones I want or need to do at any given moment. It’s a reflection of the chaos that is my brain.

You can find even more Android expert profiles in the official Google+ collection.

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