Just when you think that Android couldn’t get more feature-packed, Google goes and does this. The company just unveiled 11 new features across the Android ecosystem that will boost your experience. These features are coming to Android, Wear OS, and Google TV.
As with any feature drop like this, there’s no guarantee that they’ll all come out at once for your device. So, if you don’t see all of the new features, then you’ll want to wait just a bit. If you do have to wait, it won’t be too long. Google didn’t refer to a gradual rollout period.
1. New Emoji Kitchen combinations
If you don’t know what Android’s Emoji Kitchen is, then you might want to. This is a feature in Gboard where it will take different emojis and combine them to make fresh new emojis for you to post. If you want to send a star with a smiley face or a ghost cat emoji, you can do so.
To kick off December, Gboard is bringing some new emoji combinations that you can use to express yourself. If you want to combine the face sticking its tongue out with the camera app, (whatever emotion that this is supposed to convey) you can do it. There are hundreds of combinations you can enjoy. When you’re using Gboard, just tap on the Emoji button and type in the emojis that you want to combine. The keyboard will post it as a sticker.
2. Google Message voice memo backgrounds
When you’re listening to voice memos on Google Messages, why stick with a boring old background? If you’re excited, enamored, or upset, why not express that visually? Google Messages has a new feature that will add more flair to your voice memos.
When you record a new voice memo, you’ll be able to add a colorful background to it. The voice memo will pop up in a bubble, and that bubble could have a fun color theme. Each color scheme will have an emoji associated with it. When you make your recording, you’ll be able to choose the theme thanks to a popup on the bottom.
3. Enhanced emoji reactions in Google Messages
Right now, you’re able to add reactions to messages in Google Messages. These will be emojis added to messages to express how you feel about a message without needing to type it in. Just hold your finger down on a message bubble and choose from the list of emoji reactions that pop up.
Well, with this new feature drop, you’ll be able to add more of a visual pop to your reactions. Google is bringing new enhanced emoji reactions. When you add a reaction, you’ll see larger animations take up the screen. It’s a nice addition that people will like to see.
4. More free TV channels
Not all of these new 11 new Android features are for your phone. These next will involve other devices. Nowadays, everything costs money. Watching your favorite TV shows and movies always involves some sort of subscription service. Well, on Google TV, there are free TV channels that you can access. Google just introduced 10 additional TV channels that you can watch for free.
These channels join over 100 other channels that you can watch. Sports, action, comedy, drama, reality TV, etc, you have a massive collection of content to watch.
5. More smart home device groups
Your smart home is going great, but you want just a bit more control over certain groups of devices. Well, Google is now adding more smart home device groups. You can control activate and dock devices like your smart vacuum and mops right from your Wear OS device.
If your smart lights just aren’t giving you the right vibe, you can change that. You can change the color and brightness of your smart light groups using your Wear OS device.
6. Set home status
When it comes to smart home devices, there are things you need them to do when you’re home. However, those things don’t always transfer to when you’re not home. This is why Google released a feature that will let you set your presence. You can set your status as either Home or Away.
When you’re status is set as Away, you can make it so that lights and other devices are turned off and your locks are locked. It’s a great feature to have if you need to rush out of the door without shutting everything off. You can simply set your status from your phone or smartwatch.
7. Assistant Routines on Wear OS
You’ve had the ability to create routines using Google Assistant for a while, but Wear OS was missing out on this feature. Assistant Routines are successions of tasks that you assign for Assistant to perform at certain times. Well, if you want to access a Routine using Google Assistant from your smartwatch, you can now.
When you make your routine, you just need to access Assistant on your smartwatch and say the name of the routine you want to summon. You’ll then see it appear on your screen.
8. Security key PIN
Of these 11 new Android features, this is the most crucial to your security. Security keys are the new way to secure your accounts. They aim to make passwords obsolete and they’re a more secure way of accessing your accounts. You can secure your accounts using keys now, but Google just made using them even safer. Now, you can add a PIN to your security key.
So, if anyone happens to get their hands on your key, they will need to get past yet another security measure to access your stuff.
9. At a Glance on Wear OS
The At a Glance widget is extremely useful on Android, but its uses could extend to other platforms. Wear OS is one of them. Google is rolling out the At a Glance functionality to your Wear OS watch faces. You’ll be able to get important updates and alerts right on your wrist.
10. AI image descriptions
People who are blind and low-vision rely on text descriptions of images to know what’s going on. Not all images on the internet come with proper descriptions, so Google is stepping in with its new TalkBack feature.
This will use generative AI to describe images and read them out loud. It will read descriptions of images from social media and other sources.
11. Live captions updates
These are the only features that the company says are rolling out over the next couple of weeks. The first update will bring the on-device live captions to more languages so that more people can enjoy the feature.
Next, when you’re taking a call, you’ll see live captions appear. Not only that but you’ll be able to type text that the phone will read aloud to the other end. So, you’ll be able to conduct a call where you don’t have to speak or hear the other person.
All 11 of these new Android features are going to help improve your experience that much more. Don’t forget to try them all out.