9 New Features From Google’s Android and Wear OS Spring Update
At CES 2023, Google showcased a new quick pair connectivity feature for your phone and your laptop, watch, TV, and car. A recent blog post by Google made it apparent that this wasn’t all that the software giant had to announce for its Spring update.
From better accessibility features to fun visual Easter eggs, Google has announced numerous features that have started to roll out to Android users. Let’s take a look at everything that was announced with the Android and Wear OS Spring update.
1. Fast Pair With Chromebooks
In an upcoming update, you will be able to connect your Bluetooth headphones to your Chromebook with a single tap—no more of the annoying “scan for new devices” fiasco.
If your audio device of choice is already connected to your phone, it’s even simpler to connect it to your Chromebook. If implemented smoothly, this could be the equivalent of how easy it is to pair AirPods to Apple devices.
Avid Google Keep users will be delighted to know that soon you’ll be able to add a single note as a widget on your home screen. The widget dynamically adds user actions and even follows the color of your note. Adding an ever-present widget for a grocery list or dreadful assignments is now made possible.
3. Take Notes Using Your Smartwatch
With the updated Google Keep for Wear OS app, you can browse and create notes using a nifty shortcut on a compatible smartwatch. You can either use your voice to take notes or use the on-screen keyboard if you’re up for some finger gymnastics. To access the shortcut, you’ll need to apply the new default Wear OS Watch Face.
4. Better Readability on Chrome
A major part of fine-tuning software experience is ensuring that enough attention is given to the accessibility features. While you could previously increase the font and icon size system-wide to make Android phones senior-friendly, this often meant blown-up webpages with a broken layout.
You can now choose to only increase the content size in Google Chrome for Android. This lets you play around with readability by adjusting the content size by up to 300% and it does so while preserving the layout of most web pages. To test this feature out right now, install Chrome Beta and head into the Accessibility options.
Download: Chrome Beta (Free)
5. Magic Eraser for Everyone
One of the most fun things to have come out of the Pixel 6 launch in 2021 was the Magic Eraser feature. With a simple tap and some software wizardry, your pictures end up new and fresh without any annoying photobombers or unwanted objects.
This feature was Pixel-exclusive since its launch and pushed most people to use alternative apps. Now, you can use Magic Eraser on any Android and iPhone device as long as you have a Google One subscription.
6. Fun Google Wallet Animations
Speaking of purely eye-candy improvements, every time you make a successful tap-to-pay payment using the Google Wallet app, you’ll be treated with fun animations. This “feature” should arrive with an app update soon and hopefully make your day a little brighter after every transaction.
7. New Emoji Combinations
If you use Gboard as your default keyboard app and haven’t already messed around with the Emoji Kitchen feature to generate new emojis, then you’re missing out on a lot of fun.
The Spring update also brings new mix-and-match emoji combinations for you to try. Simply select any two emojis, and you should see fun variations that you can send as stickers.
8. Noise Cancelation in Google Meet
With the pandemic having made seemingly permanent changes to how we work, a lot of us depend on platforms such as Google Meet and Zoom for remote meetings. Google Meet for Android has been updated with noise cancelation to bury annoying sounds in the background while you’re trying to talk.
Download: Google Meet (Free)
9. Annotate PDFs in Google Drive
Finally, you can now directly annotate PDFs in the Google Drive app for Android. Tap on the screen and select the Annotate feature to start highlighting text or other areas in your PDF.
Additionally, if you have a stylus, you can make use of various ink strokes to add different layers of information. You can later edit, delete, or save this annotated version of your PDF to your Google Drive account.
Stay Up to Date and Enjoy the Latest Android Features
With such a vast variety of new announcements, there’s a little bit for everyone in this Spring’s Android and Wear OS update. Some of these updates have already started rolling out, while a few are still underway. Regardless, downloading the latest updates to your apps should ensure you get these new and useful features on your Android device as soon as they’re available.