Re: Google and Sync Question
The Note 3 is a great phone, but it's packed with a ton of features that some people are overwhelmed by. I'll try to address each of your questions to the best of my ability.
1A) My understanding of location services is that you can control it by toggling the GPS and disabling GPS option within the camera.
1B) Your Gmail account is used to sign in to all google services. I think it's much better having it all integrated instead of separate info for Youtube, Drive, Google+, etc. That would get kind of crazy.
Also, your work email won't sync unless you set it up to do so. Syncing can always be disabled for each service from settings>accounts>sync
2A) Sync: this feature allows you to see all of your updated info for contacts and each google app/service, which means you can make changes to contacts or emails from computer and it will all be synced on your phone (if enabled to do so). You can control the syncing interval if you want. Sync also works for non-Google stuff like Dropbox, which can come in quite handy if you store docs and photos within different cloud services. The syncing of these services can always be disabled from within phone settings.
2B) Push is a Samsung app that sends you push notifications regarding new apps and available updates for Samsung apps that are currently on the phone. I disabled (Settings>Apps>Disable) the app since I don't need it and think it might drain battery a bit.
3) You can add the persistent search bar widget by dragging it to the home screen. Tapping it will take you to search with a list of most recent searches and Google Now underneath.
The ok google hot word can be disabled from within the Google Now settings. It's not quite like the Moto X feature where it's always on if enabled.
Case & Screen Protector: TPU case or flip case would work fine. Just depends on what you want. I think the screen protector your talking about is the SPIGEN tempered glass screen cover, which is designed to protect the actual screen by breaking during a hard fall.
Re: Google and Sync Question
Thanks for that, I do appreciate it.. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said overwhelming..
To paraphrase a Mr. Johnny Quid:
"I am in need of a good education. That's what I need."
I am going to do some homework because I don't think I was quite clear in my first post. It was late last night when I posed those questions out of frustration. Once I do a bit of research, I'll hopefully be able to clarify what I was asking. Anyone else should probably disregard the previous questions until I've done a better job asking.
Re: Google and Sync Question
here's something to think about.....android is a google universe, like a windows phone is a microsoft windows universe, and ios is an apple universe. meaning if i'm using android then google assumes i'm going to use all of their software that works together, since they've created it to work together.....
ie: it's set up to work and sync seemlessly through a gmail account which will sync email, contacts, chrome browser info, calendar, etc. to really utilize the platform you would then use chrome on your laptop, as well as email, contacts, calendar, etc. ( sync is synchronizing information from laptop, tablet, etc to phone so that they all have the same information...."pushing" email refers to the time frame that the sync will happen...pushing means the email will update immediately when an email comes into your account, you can also choose to have the phone check for new email at longer intervals in the settings....but i digress)
when i had a windows phone, it handled my outlook calendar, msn email, and contacts seemlessly. when i first crossed over to an android phone i was frustrated by the fact that i couldn't at that time sync my outlook calendar. just like people with a bunch of stuff from itunes were frustrated that their music etc didn't cross over easily.
at some point i decided to really dive in and join the google ecosystem and crossed all of my microsoft based info, email, calendar, contacts, etc. over to gmail and google services. it has made my android experience a smooth functional one.
there are now way more apps that help incorporate non android based functions into the android experience, but you do jump through some hoops to get it all working together. so for people that are entrenched in microsoft windows programs, it might be a smoother more comfortable experience to go with a windows phone.... just like if you were used to and love the ios experience an iphone might be a better fit.
no i'm not saying that an ios user can't cross over to an android phone, i'm just saying that being pissed at google cuz your itunes doesn't play nice with your android phone is stupid, you have to acknowledge the differences in platforms and find apps that will help them play nice and be willing to jump through the hoops it might entail.
i also am not saying this is the situation you are in, i'm just saying this was a situation i was in myself, and at some point decided i loved android and was willing to switch some of my core programs to google services so that i would have a smooth experience that i enjoyed. i still have one msn email account that i choose to sync only the email for, not the contacts, calendar etc. and you can do the same....the beauty is you can choose which to sync and what not to.
the google search bar is more integrated with google now at this point. clicking on the homescreen widget takes you to the google now page and each result does take you to the internet......you can press the back button to return to the search results.....i agree though with what you are saying, i hate when an app or program that i love updates and changes....kind of like how i loved windows 7 and loathe windows 8 or how much i loved the old handcent messaging app and dislike the changes in the new version....nothing ever stays the same, even when we wish it would.