Info-tech

Google introduces a range of new features for Android

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on September 26, 2021

Includes updates to Android Auto, Assistant and Gboard and new accessibility features

Google has announced a slew of new features for Android including updates to Android Auto, Assistant and Gboard and new accessibility features.

Accessibility features

For users with motor and speech disabilities, the tech giant is rolling out Camera Switches and Project Activate features.

Rolling out this week, Camera Switches is a feature within the Android Accessibility Suite that turns a user’s front-facing camera into a switch. It is an adaptive tool that can replace a keyboard, mouse, or touching the phone screen to help users navigate their phone.

Project Activate is a new app that lets users use facial gestures and eye movements to activate preset actions like speaking a phrase (like “Wait!”), playing audio (like a laugh) or sending a text message (like “Please come here”), Google explained in a blog post.

It is also adding handwriting recognition to Lookout, an app that uses the phone camera to assist people with low vision or blindness.

“In Documents mode, Lookout will now read out both handwritten and printed text for Latin-based languages. Also, in response to Lookout’s growing global audience, we are adding Euro and Indian Rupee recognition within currency mode, with more on the way,” it said.

Other Android features

Google has built remote-control features directly into the Android phone. Users can also use their phone’s keyboard to type in passwords, movie names or search terms.

“Try it on your Google TV or other Android TV OS devices by adding the remote tile to quick settings on your Android phone, or by visiting the Google TV app — coming to 14 more countries over the next few weeks,” it said.

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Users can now manage day-to-day tasks using Reminders from Assistant. They can keep all their reminders in one place by saying, “Hey Google, open my reminders” where they will also see helpful suggestions for recurring reminders that they can activate with a tap.

Separately, it is also expanding the locked folders feature for Google Photos on other Android phones. Previously available only on Pixel, the feature that will soon be rolling out to Android, Locked Folder in Google Photos gives users a passcode-protected space to save photos and videos separately.

G Board

It is also updating G board with new additions to Emoji Kitchen with over 1,500 stickers coming this fall. Apart from this, when users copy text that includes multiple information like phone numbers, email addresses and URLs, G board will automatically extract and separate them into multiple pasting options.

Additionally, when users open a messaging app right after taking a screenshot, G board will now show that screenshot as a suggestion to share. For devices running Android 11 or newer, it will leverage machine learning to let users quickly complete their sentences with a swipe with Smart Compose.

The tech giant has also announced improved visibility settings in Nearby Share.

“Choose between everyone, your contacts, or no one, and you can easily change your preference through your phone’s Quick Settings space anytime,” it explained.

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Apart from this, with the Heads Up feature, users can get reminders to look up and stay alert when they’re walking and using their phone. Launched first on Pixel earlier this year, Heads Up is now available through the Digital Wellbeing setting on devices running Android 9 and newer.

Android Auto

Android Auto is also getting new updated features including support for a user’s work profile.

Additionally, if a user uses a dual-SIM Android phone, they can now choose which SIM card to use when making calls through Android Auto.

Waze on Android Auto is also getting a refresh to create a more streamlined navigation experience.

The new design includes touchpad support, night mode and lane guidance support. It also puts map and directions at the forefront.

These Android Auto features will be available soon on Android phones when connected to a compatible car.

Published on September 25, 2021

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