Google’s Android team this week introduced a host of mobile updates for messaging, photo editing, entertainment, and more. This includes iPhone reactions appearing on Android phones as emojis, the ability to pay for parking via voice, and easier sharing with nearby devices.
This update doesn’t solve the blue bubble versus green bubble drama, and Google is once again making sure appeal to apple to “join the rest of the mobile industry and embrace RCS” (here’s what that means). But there are a few notable additions to Android Messages, including:
iPhone reactions now appear on Android phones as emojis (first on English-tuned devices, with other languages to follow).
Send Android videos as Google Photos links to your iPhone friends, preserving their clarity. The functionality will soon also apply to still images.
Messages are automatically sorted into the Personal and Business tabs, the same way most Google inboxes work. Additionally, you can set messages with one-time password codes to be deleted after 24 hours.
Nudges that remind you to reply to messages you may have missed or need a follow-up are rolling out to English-speaking users worldwide first.
Save a friend’s birthday to your device’s contacts and you’ll get an annual notification when you open Messages or start a conversation with them.
Gboard’s new grammar checking feature detects errors and offers suggestions.
Emoji Kitchen’s collection of over 2,000 mashups are available as stickers. “Replace heart eyes with pretzels, make it rain disco balls, or add love to your favorite foods in an endless array of emoji possibilities,” Google explains.
Developed for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, Live Transcribe provides real-time captions for in-person conversations. Pre-installed on Pixel and Samsung devices, and available as a free download, the app now comes with an offline mode for those times when you can’t access Wi-Fi or your data connection is spotty, like in a airplane or subway.
Portrait Blur will soon be available on the Android Photos app, where Google One members and Pixel handset owners can use the editing tool to blur the background on images of more subjects, including pets, food and plants. This also applies to old photos taken without portrait mode.
Highlights on Google TV
Open the new ‘Featured’ tab on Google TV to find a personalized feed of entertainment news, reviews and more, based on the movies and shows you care about. And, when you discover your next favorite production, tap the thumbnail to play, rate, or Remember the title for later.
Pay parking with Google Assistant
Google Assistant and Google Pay have teamed up to let users pay for parking in ParkMobile street zones in more than 400 US cities using their voice. Find a spot, grab your phone, say “Hey, Google, pay for parking” and follow the on-screen prompts – no coins needed. You can also check your parking status or extend your stay with an additional voice command.
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Balance real life and digital life with a new Screen Time widget highlighting the three apps you use the most every day. Tap to open Digital Wellbeing, where you’ll find daily app timers, the ability to pause distracting programs at set times, and an option to silence your device and change the screen to black and white on time of bedtime.
A new update allows users to send photos, videos, documents, links, audio files and entire folders to multiple nearby Android 6+ devices at once.
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