Google today announced a set of new features coming to supported Android versions. Among them is a much-needed update to Nearby share.
“The team behind Android is always working on new features to help you stay productive, communicate with loved ones, and enjoy entertainment across devices,” Google senior director Scott Blanksteen writes. “From easier sharing, redesigned experiences for apps and watches to new ways to host game nights, here’s what’s new.”
Nearby share update. Nearby share lets you share files between nearby Android phones and tablets, and Chromebooks. But this new update adds a much-needed new feature, the ability to easily transfer files between your own devices. Soon, you’ll see all the devices to which you’ve signed in with the same Google account, and transfers between these devices will be automatically accepted once you opt-in to do so.
Redesigned widgets. In addition to adapting the Google Workspace apps for large-screen Android devices, Google has now redesigned its Google Drive and Keep widgets. The new Drive widget provides one-touch access to your Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets files, while the new Keep widget makes it easier to access your notes, to-do lists, and reminders.
Emoji improvements. Gboard now lets you “emojify” your messages with a new Emojify button that lets you select a layout and the right set of emojis. It’s available now in Gboard Beta in English, and it is coming to all Gboard English users “over the next weeks.” Google has also added lots of new seasonal Emoji Kitchen mashups, which are available as stickers in Gboard.
Google Meet improvements. Google Meet is being updated with new shared experiences like live sharing YouTube videos and classic games such as UNO! Mobile, Kahoot!, and Heads Up!. And a new multi-pinning feature helps you adjust your screen and stay focused on particular people in a meeting.
Sound notifications. Designed in partnership with the Deaf and hard of hearing community, new Sound Notifications—available in Live Transcribe and Notifications—will detect household sounds like fire alarms, running water, and door knocks and alert you on your phone or watch when they occur. You can also add your own custom sounds for appliances and more to your alert library by recording the sounds and your phone or watch.
Audio Descriptions for Google TV. This new feature will live-narrate visual information as it happens onscreen. You can find a curated library of movies with audio descriptions on Google TV: press the Google Assistant button and say “search audio description movies” to get started.
Wear OS improvements. Wear OS provides a new Keep tile so you can dictate or manage notes and checklists on your wrist without having to open your phone or tablet. And Wear OS will soon offer a new Bitmoji mobile app and Bitmoji watch face so you can send your personal Bitmoji to your watch, where it will change expressions depending on the time of day, the weather, and your physical activity.