Google last month announced its next version of its mobile operating system, Android 12 during the Google I/O conference. Later, the company announced a feature drop for its Pixel smartphones for June 2021. Now, Google has announced six new features that will be coming to all Android users this summer. The new features, according to a Google Blog post, focus on users’ safety, “so that they are protected at every turn." The new features include an earthquake alert, the ability to star messages on Google’s Messages app, improvements to voice control, improved password input, and more customisation and new app experiences on Android Auto. Let us take a look at what Google has in store for us this summer:
Last year, Google launched what the company calls the world’s largest earthquake detection network, based on the tech built into Android devices. Google’s system alerts people in affected areas seconds before an earthquake hits, giving them advance notice in case they need to seek safety. Google recently launched Earthquake Alerts New Zealand and Greece. Now, the company is expanding the feature in countries with a higher earthquake risk like Turkey, Philippines, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Apart from expanding Earthquake Alerts, Google is also launching the ability to star messages on the Messages app for users to keep a track of what’s important, and easily find it later without scrolling through all of their messages. Users can tap and hold a message, then star it.
Google, in May, introduced a new section in the recently used Kitchen Emoji stickers so users can quickly get back to the ones they use most frequently. Soon, users will start seeing contextual suggestions in Emoji Kitchen once they have typed a message. These will help users discover the perfect emoji combination at the exact moment they need it.
Voice control on Android is also getting improvements this summer. Users can now jump into their favourite apps with just their voice. Further, Google is bringing a feature for people with motor disabilities, where Voice Access gives them a quick and efficient phone and app navigation with just their voice. Google is also bringing gaze detection, where users can ask Voice Access to work only when they are looking at the screen — so that users can naturally move between talking to friends and using their phone. Voice access also has enhanced password input. When it recognizes a password field, it will let users input letters, numbers, and symbols. For example, you can say “capital P, a, s, s, w, o, r, d” or names of symbols (like “dollar sign” to input a $), so it’s faster to safely enter passwords.
Lastly, Android Auto is also getting new customisations that will make life easier for users. Users can personalise their launch screen directly from their smartphones and manually set dark mode. Google is also making it easier to browser content with new tabs in media apps, a “back to top" option, and an A to Z button in the scroll bar. Google has also added new app experiences to help enhance users’ drive. EV charging, parking and navigation apps are now available to use in Android Auto. The messaging experience has also been improved, so users can access their favorite messaging apps from the launcher screen. Users can easily read and send new messages directly from apps like WhatsApp or Messages — now available globally.