Google has unveiled a slew of fresh features and updates for its Android system, following announcements at Google I/O a few weeks ago. Aimed at promoting learning, enhancing productivity, and bolstering security, the updates will come throughout the year and improve devices in between yearly OS releases.
Judy Chang, the Director of Product Management, highlighted seven pivotal updates that would help users learn new skills, stay productive on the move, and safeguard their information. Here’s what Android users can look forward to on their phones, tablets, and Wear OS smartwatches.
1. Reading Practice: Android now boasts a feature aimed at enhancing vocabulary and reading comprehension. Available on Android phones or tablets, users can try the ‘Reading Practice’ tool on thousands of children’s ebooks, marked with a ‘Practice’ badge on Google Play Books. The feature aids new readers by helping them with pronunciation, practicing mispronounced words, and providing real-time feedback.
2. Personalized Widgets: Android has rolled out three new widgets to customize your phone or tablet home screen. These widgets provide quick access to personalized movie and TV show suggestions via Google TV, track selected stocks with Google Finance, and deliver daily headlines from Google News.
3. Spotify on Wear OS: Wear OS users can now listen to their favorite music and podcasts directly from their wrist. Spotify’s new tiles and watch face shortcuts allow users to enjoy personalized playlists, stream podcast episodes, and shuffle their favorite tracks.
4. Tap and Ride: For commuters in Washington, D.C. and the San Francisco Bay Area, they can now use their Wear OS smartwatch to make payments using SmarTrip and Clipper cards via Google Wallet.
5. Google Keep on Wear OS: Google Keep now offers a tile on Wear OS for fast access to a selected note or to-do list. Users can swipe through their tiles and find their pinned notes easily, ensuring they stay organized and on track.
6. Emoji Kitchen: Android’s Emoji Kitchen lets users remix their favorite emojis into stickers and send them as messages via Gboard. The latest update adds new aquatic-themed emoji combinations, adding a splash of fun to your conversations.
7. Dark Web Scans: Most Google Account holders in the U.S. can now use the ‘Dark Web Report’ feature on the Google One website and app. This tool scans the dark web to see if the user’s Gmail address has been exposed, offering guidance on protective measures. Google One members in the U.S. can also scan for additional personal information, like their social security number. This feature will expand to more than 20 countries in the upcoming months.
The Android team continues to strive for enhanced user experience, constantly adding new features and updates to their devices and apps. To find out more about the new Android features, users can visit Android.com/updates.