Google has announced a major software update for Android that will bring new features to smartphones, tablets, Wear OS smartwatches and Google TV.
The update focuses heavily on improving messaging. The latest update to Emoji Kitchen will allow people to remix two emojis into combo stickers that can be shared with friends as messages or Snapchat snaps. Users can combine their favorite emoji, like a camera and mind-blown face, to start conversations.
A highlight is “Voice Moods”, currently in beta, which analyzes your voice and adds a corresponding background and emoji theme to voice messages. “Reaction Effects” is another beta feature that lets you react to individual messages with large animated emojis.
Smartwatch users get more control of their smart home right from their wrist. Google is bringing Assistant routines to Wear OS, allowing users to start hands-free tasks like navigating or checking their agenda by telling their watch to start its “commute to work” routine.
Using their watch, they can now manage smart devices, light groups, home status and routines. An “Assistant At a Glance” widget consolidates important information like weather, events and travel updates.
The update aims to help more people participate fully even when they can’t hear a call. AI-powered image descriptions in TalkBack will help blind and low-vision users better understand photos read aloud. Live Captions on phone calls will support additional languages while allowing call recipients to reply by text.
Security and accessibility get a boost, too. Users can set custom PINs for passwordless logins to select websites and apps.
Google has added more than 10 new free streaming channels to Google TV, expanding the free entertainment options available to users. The new channels join the service’s existing lineup of more than 100 free channels that offer movies, TV shows, sports, news and more without requiring a subscription.
You can read more about them in the official blog post.