March 28, 2023

Westside People

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Google announces new features for Android and Wear OS

Image credits: Brian Heater

Google has announce A slew of new features for Android, Chromebook, and Wear OS designed to improve connectivity, productivity, and accessibility. The announcement is timed to coincide with the Mobile World Congress (MWC), which kicks off in Barcelona today. Among the new features are upcoming Fast Pair support on Chromebook, Google Keep shortcuts for your phone and smartwatch, and new accessibility modes for Wear OS.

The company revealed that Fast Pair will soon be able to connect its new Bluetooth headphones to a Chromebook with just one click. If the user has already set up the headphones with their Android phone, the Chromebook will automatically connect to them as well. Google hasn’t provided specific information about a release window for this update, but has indicated that it will be rolling out “soon.”

Image credits: Google

Another audio improvement announced today is that Google Meet will soon offer noise cancellation on more Android mobile devices to filter out background sounds when speaking during a meeting.

Google’s Android booth at MWC 2023 in Barcelona. picture: Brian Heater

The company also revealed that users will soon be able to easily increase the size of content on Chrome, including text, images, and videos, by up to 300% while preserving the page layout. Users will be able to set the size of their preferred content as default so they don’t have to change it every time they launch the browser. The new update is available starting today in Chrome Beta, and will soon be rolled out to all users.

Image credits: Google

The company also plans to release a single Google Keep notes widget that will help users quickly manage their notes and check off to-do lists from the home screen. The widget will display reminders, background colors, and photos added to notes from the Keep app while also syncing with your smartwatch. Google Keep will also roll out two new shortcuts for creating notes and to-do lists with a simple tap on the user’s watch face.

Google’s Android booth at MWC 2023 in Barcelona. picture: Brian Heater

Google is launching another productivity feature that allows users to use a pen or simply touch the screen to annotate PDFs in the Google Drive app for Android. You can play with different ink strokes to write notes or notes, or use the highlighter to save important text to your tablet or phone. Then you can hide, undo, delete or save a new copy of your annotated documents. Free Google Drive Annotation for Android is now available.

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In addition, Wear OS is getting two new sound and display modes that are designed to improve the accessibility of the watch. Users will soon be able to access mono audio mode to help reduce the confusion caused by audio segmentation. New color correction and grayscale modes will give users more options for their display.

Image credits: Google

The company is also launching new emoji collections in the Emoji Kitchen, a Gboard feature that allows users to submit embedded or remixed sticker versions of Google’s emoji designs. There are new basketball and spring team options that users can play with and then share with others.

Another fun feature is the introduction of a new Google Wallet payment checkout animation to help confirm your in-store transactions. Google has hinted that users will start seeing “cheerful penguins” and other characters starting next week.