Google is launching a bunch of new features on Android, that will help you make the most of this holiday season. And the best part is, you don’t need to be on Android 12 or wait for an OTA to use these new features.
First up, there are three new widgets coming. YouTube Music has a new widget that will put playback controls and recently played tracks right onto your home screen. Next up is the new Google Play Books widget which lets you access your full library of books and your audiobook progress. Finally, there is a new Google Photos People and Pets widget that will show your family on your home screen.
The Google Play Books and Google Photos People & Pets widgets will start rolling out next week.
Google Assistant brings Family Bell to more devices
Family Bell is a feature that was only available on Nest Mini, Nest Audio as well as the Nest Hub products. And it was a way to remind users in your home when it’s time to do different things. Now, this is coming to mobile devices. So it will work on your Android smartphone as well.
Google Photos is adding new Memories that will appear in your photo grid as a curated selection of photos and videos from holidays, important milestones and other things. There will be specific controls that will let you rename, personalize, correct or even remove these memories from your photo grid.
Google is rolling out thousands of new emoji combinations to Gboard, within the Emoji Kitchen. This is available for Gboard Beta users starting today, and will arrive for all Gboard users in the coming weeks.
Digital Car Keys are now available for Pixel 6 & Galaxy S21 in select countries
We’ve heard a lot this year from both Google and Apple about Digital Car Keys, and we’re now seeing it available for the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro and the Galaxy S21 with compatible BMW vehicles. Allowing you to use your phone as your car key. And it is available in select countries.
That’s not all that is new for Android for Cars though. There is a new auto-launch setting in Android Auto, which will allow it to start as soon as your phone connects.
There is also a new always-on play button on Android Auto, making it easier to start playing audio. Even from your home screen. And finally, in the coming months, there will be an update that will allow users to respond tot ext messages while on the road with just one tap using Smart Reply from Google Assistant.
These features will all start rolling out today, throughout the next few months. And the best part is, you don’t need an update from your smartphone maker.