General search tools

Google Search is well-integrated with its Android platform, and comes with each device. From the widget or the search button, query the web, your contacts, apps and other saved items on your phone. Free, Google Search comes with voice tools, suggestions as you type and access to your search settings. Instant access for stock prices, weather and more are included on this app. For a hands-free approach, Google’s voice search is useful. Search your phone, the web and local listings by voice, instead of typing. From there, you can call venues or your contacts, or request directions. Google app also lets you perform a few phone commands for dictating text messages and emails. For those few, who prefer searching on the web with the rival Bing, Microsoft released the Bing app for Android.

If it’s your phone you need to search, and not the web, try Andro Search. This free app is a full-text search tool, letting you query your contacts, documents, files, apps and more even when offline. File search will also lookup for query text inside the documents, ebooks and pdf files.

Yellow Pages has done a great job converting into the digital age, with a free app to pull up local listings. Read reviews and contact information, get filtered ratings and save items of interest for later access. Yellow Pages supports voice search, letting you speak the type of business or service to pull up a list of results. Plot venues on a map, and navigate directly there.

Gesture Search

Google Gesture Search is a unique app that serves as more of a future concept or tech demo than an actual integration into the Android software. The app’s whole goal is to experiment with a new way to browse the content on your phone. Instead of typing or even vocalizing your search, you can now write the search on your touch screen.

So let’s say I was looking for a certain application out of the hundreds I have installed on my device. I can write the first letter of its name and continue to write letters until it appears on the screen. This is a very useful tool for anyone annoyed with the need to use a keyboard. While it does provide a new experience and way to browse, it still isn’t something that I personally believe to be practical. The process of writing letters on the screen still requires opening the app, writing however many letters it takes to narrow the selection, and tapping on the app.

This app could be useful if someone has a ridiculously large contact list but still the ability to utilize voice commands still trumps this app. It is available free in the Android Market so definitely try it out. It is pretty accurate and fun to use the first few times.

Niche search tools

There are plenty of apps that will help you identify music playing around you. Among some other, the biggest names on this field are Google Sound Search app, Shazam, TrackID from Sony and SoundHound.

If you’re in search of a job, Indeed’s Job Search app is the way to go. Free, the app searches multiple job boards and web sites, concentrating your search efforts from a single location. Save your searches for later access, drill down your search by location, and pick which ones are worth applying for. LinkedIn, the social giant focusing on professional network, is becoming a great place to find your dream job or hire experienced co-workers. They released the LinkedIn job search app that accelerates the process.

TV Guide will give you the scoop on your favorite programs as well as its program schedule. View local listings, and get information on program details. Set reminders for programs of interest, and save programs you’d like to track. The free app also offers episode recaps, daily Hot Lists and entertainment news.