Android Feature Updates

Google last week rolled out another round of features coming to Android and Wear OS. This batch of updates focuses on productivity, communication, and accessibility.

Let’s dive into the improvements coming to an Android device near you.

Productivity

Nearby Share – Google makes transferring files across your devices even more effortless. Select an Android device logged into your Google account from the sharing menu to share files between them. You can even opt-in to transfer files while the screen is off.

Bigger Screens, Bigger Widgets – With Google’s work on Android for bigger screens, it only makes sense that certain apps would be optimized for the increased screen real estate. Google Drive widget will now have three home screen buttons to easily access Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets files. Google Keep will use the bigger widget to increase the font size and accessing your notes even easier.

Communication

Emojify – Emojify will help add the right emphasis to a message without having to select every emoji one at a time. Type your message and hit the Emojify button, it will automatically add the right emojis to your message. This is currently available in Gboard Beta and coming to all Gboard English users over the next few weeks.

Emoji Kitchen – Seasonal mashups are coming to Gboard. Google is combining your favorite emojis with the best parts of Fall to share with your friends.

Video Calls – Google Meet is getting a live sharing feature so you can co-watch YouTube videos and play games with up to 100 friends and family members at a time. Google Meet is also getting a multi-pinning tool to adjust your screen and stay focused on the people you choose.

Accessibility

Accessibility Tools – Google will be allowing you to add custom sounds to the Live Transcribe & Notifications function for the hearing impaired. All you have to do is record your custom sound and your phone or watch will alert you the next time the sound goes off. For the visually impaired, Google is bringing Audio Descriptions on Google TV to narrate live visual information using Google Assistant. You can start exploring by asking Google Assistant to search for audio description movies to look through the curated library.

Wear OS

Wear OS – Wear OS is getting a new Keep tile to let you dictate a note or checklist directly from your watch or manage ones made on another device. Google is also bringing Bitmoji to the Wear OS watch face. After setting up a personal avatar on Snapchat, Bitmoji.com, or the Bitmoji mobile app, just download the Bitmojii watch face to send it to your watch. The Bitmoji will change expressions depending on the time of day, the weather, and your physical activity.

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