From Google Messages to Emoji Kitchen, here’s what new with Android

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on June 17, 2021

Expands its Android earthquake alerts system to more countries

Google has announced a range of upcoming features for Android. This includes new features for Google Messages, more accessibility features and upgrades to Android Auto.

Google Messages

Google has announced that RCS chats sent through the Messages app will now be end-to-end encrypted. The tech giant had rolled out the feature in beta last year. It is now expanding the feature to all users who have access to RCS.

“End-to-end encryption is available in one-on-one conversations between Messages users with chat features enabled,” it said.

Separately, it is also rolling out the ability to star a message on the Messages app to keep track of what’s important. Users can tap and hold their message, then star it. Starred messages will start to roll out more broadly over the coming weeks, it said.

Earthquake alerts

Google last year announced its plans to build the “world’s largest earthquake detection network,” based on technology built into Android devices.

“With this free system, people in affected areas can get alerts seconds before an earthquake hits, giving you advance notice in case you need to seek safety,” Google said.

It had launched the Android Earthquake Alerts System in New Zealand and Greece earlier this year. It is now expanding the Android Earthquake Alerts System in Turkey, the Philippines, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

“We are prioritizing launching Earthquake Alerts in countries with higher earthquake risks, and hope to launch in more and more countries over the coming year,” it said.

Emoji Kitchen

Google will now provide contextual suggestions in Emoji Kitchen once a user types a message/ The tec giant had introduced a new section in recently used Emoji Kitchen stickers in May.

“Contextual Emoji Kitchen suggestions are available in Gboard beta and will be introduced to all Gboard users this summer for messages written in English, Spanish and Portuguese on devices running Android 6.0 and above.

Voice accessibility

Users are expanding the feature that lets users navigate through apps using the voice assistant. They can now access more of their favourite apps with just their voice. They can also see what else it has to offer by saying, “Hey Google, shortcuts.”

The tech giant is also adding gaze detection for Voice Access. The voice access feature lets users navigate through their phone and apps using their voice.

With gaze detection, users can now ask Voice Access to work only when looking at the screen.

Voice Access now also has enhanced password input.

“When it recognises a password field, it will let you input letters, numbers and symbols,” it said.

Android Auto

Android Auto is also getting a range of new features. Users can now customise their Android Auto experience including personalising their launcher screen directly from their phone and manually setting dark mode.

It’s also easier to browse content with new tabs in their media apps, a “back to top” option and an A to Z button in the scroll bar.

It has also added new app experiences to help enhance their drive.

“EV charging, parking, and navigation apps are now available to use in Android Auto. Plus, we’ve improved the messaging experience, so you can access your favourite messaging apps from the launcher screen,” Google said.

Users can send and read new messages directly from apps like WhatsApp or Messages. The feature is now available globally.

These Android Auto features are available on phones running Android 6.0 or above and connected to a compatible car.

Published on June 17, 2021

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