Google on Thursday introduced a host of new features for Android devices, including an upgrade to a car-sharing option that works like Apple’s AirDrop and lets users transfer files across its ecosystem of phones, tablets and Chromebooks.
The wide range of upgrades – from the car-sharing feature and redesigned widgets to sound alerts, audio descriptions for Google TV and live sharing on Google Meet – are all designed to boost productivity, communication, accessibility and entertainment for Android users.
Google needs to keep Android customers happy if it is to successfully compete with Apple, which just announced a ton of new hardware and new features at its event yesterday.
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Here’s a roundup of everything Google is rolling out.
Nearby sharing gets car-sharing mode
Perhaps the most anticipated feature of the bunch is the new Nearby Share car-sharing option. To share files with yourself, select from your Android devices that are signed into the same Google account.
When Apple’s AirDrop competitor, Nearby Share, initially launched, users could only share files between their own devices if they approved the transfer before it began the sharing process. With the new update, the auto-sharing feature removes the extra step and files are automatically transferred between devices with just one click, so consumers don’t need to manually confirm the process of transfer.
The car-sharing feature will roll out in the coming weeks, Google wrote in an official blog post.
Widget and emoji upgrades
The Google Drive widget gets a face tweak, providing three new home screen buttons so people can quickly access Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets. The Google Keep widget is now bigger in size and has a bigger font to make note taking easier.
The company is also adding functionality to Gboard, the Google keyboard, which expands the availability of its “Emojify” button. The feature is currently available in the Gboard beta app, but soon English users will be able to use emoji suggestions as they type. The user can type a phrase and click the “Emojify” button to quickly add the emojis they want.
Google has also added new Seasons Emoji Kitchen Mashups so users can combine even more emojis. For example, a pumpkin combined with a cup of coffee makes a spicy pumpkin latte emoji.
Bitmoji is coming to the smartwatch operating system
Wear OS, Google’s smartwatch operating system, has the ability to add a Bitmoji to the watch face and custom Keep tiles for writing notes on the go.
The Bitmoji will change its expression depending on factors such as the time of day, the weather, and whether you are sleeping, running, listening to music, or eating.
Live sharing on Google Meet and more accessibility
New updates are also coming to Google Meet. Live sharing and multipinning features are rolling out to Android phones and tablets, allowing users to co-watch videos with up to 100 people simultaneously and pin certain people to focus on during a call. big group.
The addition of new accessibility tools allows hearing-impaired users to receive alerts on their phone when critical sound is detected such as fire alarms, running water, oven timers and door knocks. Google has partnered with the deaf and hard of hearing community to create sound notifications in the Transcription and Live Notifications tab.
Users can record their own sounds to add to the alerts library, and their Android device will flash a light, vibrate, or send a notification when those sounds are detected.