Picture: June Wan/ZDNET.
Google’s ambition is to make Android ever more practical and easy to use, both on smartphones and on tablets, connected watches or TV boxes.
With its next updates, the web giant is getting a little closer to the goal, in particular thanks to 11 new features, which we present to you below.
1. Emoji Kitchen update
Once Gboard is updated, you will find new emojis and stickers to “do your cooking”. From the default Android keyboard, you will be able to mix your favorite emojis and share them as stickers.
2. Voice Moods
Google Messages is getting a new feature, for now in beta version, called “Voice Moods” (voice mood). This feature adds a unique background and a moving emoji theme to your voice messages. When your recipient listens to the voice message you sent them in Google Messages, they can also see the emojis you added to express how you feel at a given moment.
3. More reactions in Google Messages
Do you often just react to messages received with a thumbs up? Google will help you to be more original or more precise: it will soon be possible (it is still in beta) to respond with an animated emoji.
4. New free channels on Google TV
Google TV will soon receive 10 new free channels offering sports content, movies or even game shows. These channels will be added to the hundred free channels already available.
5. More devices controllable from Wear OS
Wear OS will soon be able to control more compatible devices that you can turn on and/or place on the docking station. You can even control compatible vacuum cleaners from your watch, for a truly futuristic experience. Likewise, you can better create a luminous atmosphere for dinner by controlling your lamps… from your wrist.
6. Notify your departure or arrival to your home automation devices
Thanks to an upcoming update to Wear OS, your home automation devices will be able to automatically know that you have left your home, or that you are arriving, in order, for example, to turn on or turn off the lights.
7. Wear OS assistant routines
Wear OS also offers routines, which allow you to complete various tasks thanks to simple voice commands, even when you are on the go. So, for example, you can say: “Ok Google, I’m going to work” and Wear OS will activate the routine that follows your departure.
8. Safer connections
You can now associate a personalized PIN code with your FIDO2 security keys for websites or applications, which will allow you to log in without having to enter a complicated password. As you have associated a PIN code with the key, even if you lose this key, no one will be able to use it against you (unless they know your PIN code).
9. The Preview feature on your watch
The Preview function, which is located on your home screen, shows you what you need, when you need it. Thanks to an upcoming Wear OS update, you will be able to display this same information on your watch face.
10. AI image descriptions
The Android TalkBack tool will soon use AI to generate image descriptions to help visually impaired people. Whether it’s a photo taken by the phone’s camera, an image from an application, a web page or a social media… TalkBack will be able to describe it.
11. Live subtitling
If you use the Live Captions function, which allows live subtitling, over the next few weeks it will not only offer more languages, but it will also be able to answer during phone calls (by SMS). An update that will allow, for example, to take calls without the need to listen or answer by voice.
These new features will be deployed at different times, depending on your device, your OS version and your location. Take a look at your applications: you may even already have some of its novelties.