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Google Just Announced Eight New Features for Android

Exciting new features always steal the spotlight in software updates, but unexpected surprises make them even more thrilling. Google has just announced a fresh feature drop today, unveiling eight new features to explore on your Android device. Surprisingly, these additions aren’t heavily centered around AI, which has been Google’s primary focus lately. With its AI Overviews project facing challenges, it’s somewhat refreshing to see a lineup of traditionally practical features making their way to Android.

  1. Edit Sent Messages: Finally, Google is introducing the ability to edit your RCS messages after sending them. You’ll have a 15-minute window to make changes by long-pressing on the message. While Google hasn’t clarified any limits on the number of edits within that timeframe, this update aligns Android messaging more closely with platforms like iMessage and WhatsApp.
  2. New Emoji Kitchen Combinations: Emoji Kitchen allows users to blend compatible emojis to create unique combinations. Google is now introducing fresh combinations for this feature, though they haven’t disclosed all possibilities yet. They’ve teased one combination—headphones and disco ball—to get users ready for festival season.
  3. Switch Devices During Google Meet Calls: You can now seamlessly switch between connected devices during a Google Meet call. Simply tap the Cast button to transition from, for instance, your web browser to your Android phone or tablet. This feature is handy for staying connected during meetings or switching from mobile to desktop seamlessly.
  4. Instant Hotspot Connection: Google is rolling out “instant hotspot,” enabling Android tablets or Chromebooks to connect to your phone’s hotspot without entering the password each time. While a small change, it streamlines the process, making hotspot connections feel more like familiar wifi networks.
  5. Google Home Favorites Widget: For Public Preview users, the Google Home Favorites widget is now available on the home screen. It allows you to control smart devices directly from your phone’s home screen, eliminating the need to open the Google Home app for quick actions like adjusting smart lights or checking device stats.
  6. Google Home Favorites on Wear OS: Similarly, Google is introducing a Google Home Favorites tile and complication for Wear OS smartwatches, enabling you to manage smart home devices conveniently from your wrist.
  7. PayPal Integration in Google Wallet on Wear OS: In an update to Google Wallet, PayPal is now an option for making payments on your Wear OS smartwatch, enhancing payment flexibility for users in the U.S. and Germany.
  8. Digital Car Keys: Google is also launching digital car keys on Android, starting with select MINI models and later expanding to Mercedes-Benz and Polestar models. This feature allows users to lock, unlock, or start their cars using their phones, as well as share digital car keys with trusted contacts. As digital car keys gain traction, increased adoption by tech companies like Google could incentivize auto manufacturers to integrate the feature into their vehicles, overcoming challenges like cybersecurity and standardization.

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