Google has announced a number of new Android features designed to make it easier to share content between all your devices, while making devices more accessible.
The key update is Nearby Sharing, which is Android’s answer to Apple’s AirDrop technology, which makes transferring files easier.
The new update lets users sign up with their tech stuff and then quickly move files between the devices they own. They will be automatically accepted, even if the screen is off. This way, you can send the photo, file, or web link and forget about it, rather than having to accept the file on the receiving device.
We’ve been waiting for it for a while now, but it will only be available as an Android-to-Android feature. Google hasn’t announced exactly when it will roll out, but it will be in the next few weeks.
Elsewhere, updates are designed to improve accessibility on Android and beyond. For example, there are now larger widgets for Google Drive and Google Keep. “With an updated Google Drive widget, three home screen buttons now provide direct access to your Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets files. And in Google Keep, a larger widget and font size make it easier to access note-taking, to-do lists, and reminders,” Google writes in a blog post.
Google TV is also getting new audio descriptions to help people who are blind and visually impaired, which can be discovered by pressing the Google Assistant button and saying “search for audio description movies”. For the deaf and hard of hearing community, there are now custom sound alerts for the Sound Notifications section of the Live Transcription and Notifications settings. This function can detect fire alarms and the sounds of running water, for example.
Google is also adding an “Emojify” button to the Gboard app for Android. When you’ve finished your sentence, you can tap Emojify to add a collection of suggested emoji related to what you’ve typed. Google reckons this will be easier than searching for emoji one by one. You can keep pressing the button to get the configuration you want. Google has also added many emoji mashup stickers to Gboard.
Games like Uno and Heads Up are coming to Google Meet, and you can play on Android phones and tablets with up to 100 people. Bitmoji is also coming to Wear OS watch faces for deeper personalization of these wearables.