Google has unloaded a spate of new features for Android devices that include redesigned widgets, Google Meet upgrades, accessibility controls and more.
The updates come days after the launch of the new iPhone 14 which showcased a bevy of new features on Wednesday.
As such, Google has moved to satisfy its massive Android customer base with competing upgrades and innovative new capabilities. The wide-ranging new features are all designed to boost user productivity, communication and accessibility. There are also improvements for entertainment products and a plethora of new emojis.
The widget for Google Drive has had a makeover with three new home screen buttons to help users access Docs, Slides and Sheets quicker. What's more, the Google Keep widget is now bigger and has larger fonts for easier note-taking.
In Google Meet, there will be 'live sharing' and 'multipinning' features which are rolling out to Android devices soon. Live sharing will allow users to co-watch videos with up to 100 people simultaneously. Whereas multipinning will allow users to focus on certain participants on a large call. For example, if their boss is on the call, but not speaking, their video tile can be pinned to the top of the screen and made larger so the user can see their reactions.
There is also a new update to Nearby Share which is a feature that works similar to Apple's AirDrop in that users can transfer files between Android devices that are logged into the same Google Account. The new update - self-share - automates the process by allowing the user to transfer with just a single tap, rather than manually confirming the process. According to Google's blog, self-share will be rolling out in the coming weeks.
Android is also adding more accessibility controls and tools for users that suffer from hearing loss. Google has partnered with the deaf community to develop 'sound' alerts for fire alarms, running water, oven timers and knocks at the door. Users can record their own sounds to add to their alert library and their Android device will flash a light, vibrate or send a notification when the sounds are detected.
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Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.
Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognise him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.