In addition to rolling out a new service of Android 13 to Pixel smartphones, Google is also working to introduce some new features through its apps on Android and Wear OS devices. These new updates will also work on devices running older versions of Android and WearOS, which means your device doesn’t need to be updated to the latest version of Google’s operating system to take advantage of the new features and functionality. The company has updated core features like Near Share and its apps like Google Drive, Google Keep as part of the recently announced improvements.
Nearby Share is a useful tool for sharing files, photos and more on your own device or with people around you. But the process of sharing it has not been easy. Google Now making it a lot easier to share files with other devices you own. Android devices logged into your Google Account will now appear directly in the sharing menu, reducing the need to search for your own devices and making transfers much faster. In addition, transfers to logged in devices will be accepted automatically and will work even when the screen is turned off on a nearby device.
Google recently updated its Workspace apps for better multitasking on tablets and devices with larger screens. A new tablet-ready update will now bring redesigned widgets for Google Drive and Keep, which are now spread out to take advantage of the wider screen space available on tablets. Google’s Drive widget will also add one-touch access to Docs, Slides, and Sheets files, while Google Keep gets a larger widget that works better with to-do lists, reminders, and more.
The Gboard keyboard app has been updated with an ‘Emojiify’ button that automatically adds emoji to the typed text or typed sentence at the press of a button. The roll out for the same will happen in the next few weeks. For now the feature will be limited to Gboard English users only and is already available on the latest beta version of Gboard. Google has also added new Emoji Kitchen mashups that are available as stickers in Gboard.
Google’s Meet service on Android phones and tablets also gets a Live Sharing feature, where users can instantly watch YouTube videos or live share while playing classic games in groups of up to 100 at once. Meet now also includes the ability to pin multiple users, allowing users to focus on a few people on a group call.
The sound notification feature has been around for a while and can be found inside the Live Transcript and Notifications menus. It can alert users who have difficulty hearing important household sounds like fire alarms, door knocks and even running water and push alerts to your Android phone or watch when they happen. With a new update, users can now add custom sounds to their alerts library, so that they can be alerted about the same. Google has also added audio descriptions to Google TV for people who are blind or have low vision, which explains the live view information as it happens.
Meanwhile, a new Keep tile will let users dictate a note or checklist directly from their Wear OS-powered smartwatch. The new update will let users manage notes and lists created across devices without the need to access their tablet or smartphone. Another update coming soon for Wear OS smartwatches is the Bitmoji watch face that can change the expression depending on the time of day. Users will have to design their own personal avatar on Snapchat, Bitmoji.com or the Bitmoji mobile app. The Bitmoji watch face can be installed to push the same expressions to the Wear OS watch face.