Google introduces six new features for Android for this holiday season

Hemani Sheth Updated on December 05, 2020

Google has announced a range of new features for Android which will be launched this holiday season.

“With the holidays around the corner, we’re sharing six new Google features for Android — a few more ways your phone gets more helpful over time, even outside of major OS updates,” Google said in a blog post.

Here are the six new features coming to Android:

Emoji kitchen

It will be adding over 14,000 new design combinations to the emoji kitchen on Gboard. Emoji Kitchen allows users to create customised stickers by mixing their favorite emoji. The new version of emoji kitchen which is already available on Gboard beta will be available on Android 6.0 and above over the coming weeks.

Auto-narrated audiobooks

The tech giant is also working on adding auto-narrations for books to convert them into audiobooks.

“Google Play, working with publishers in the US and the UK, will use auto-generated narrators so books without audio versions can be narrated — meaning you will have more audio titles to choose from on Play Store,” Google said.

The publisher tool to create auto-narrated audiobooks which are currently in beta will be rolled out to all publishers in early 2021, Google added.

Voice Access

Google had introduced Voice Access for people with motor disabilities. Users can control their devices using their voice. With the new update, users can now add labels to the screens of their android apps to help them work within these apps using their voice. This can be done with the help of machine learning technology.

For instance, users can give commands such as “open Photos”, “tap Search” or “tap Your Map.” “This makes navigation convenient and hands-free, using just your voice,” explained Google.

The update had previously been rolled out on Android 11. The new version of Voice Access is now available globally on all devices running Android 6.0 and above. Users can download Voice Access on Google Play and try the new version out by joining the Beta.

Go Tab in Maps

A new feature called Go Tab in Google Maps will allow users to pin their favourite destinations and routes on the navigation app to make it easier for them to travel around.

“Pin your favorite driving destinations like school or a grocery store to quickly see directions, live traffic trends, disruptions on your route, and an accurate ETA — all without typing the place’s address,” explained Google.

It is also possible to pin specific routes as well as multiple routes for people who commute using public transit systems. Users can see accurate departure and arrival times, alerts from their local transit agency, and an up-to-date ETA right from the Go Tab.

The Go Tab will be rolled out on Android and iOS in the coming weeks.

Android Auto

The tech giant is also expanding its Android Auto tool for cars to more countries. Android Auto allows users to access Google to play music, send messages, get directions, etc. while driving.

With phones running Android 10 and above, users can access Android Auto by plugging their phone into a compatible car. For Android 9 and earlier phones, they will need to download the Android Auto app.

Nearby Share

Google’s file-sharing tool Nearby Share will also be getting a new update which will allow users to share apps from Google Play with an Android phone, even if they don’t have a cell or Wi-Fi connection.

Users can share the apps from the “Share Apps” menu in “My Apps & Games” on Google Play. This update will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

Published on December 05, 2020