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Google spruces up Android, Wear OS with new tricks
- Google is rolling out a new set of features for the various versions of Android.
- Additional updates for the Pixel Watch and select Google services are also inbound.
Google is now rolling out some updates for Android bringing some welcome changes to popular apps and services. This month, the company is touching on its broad range of platforms, not just the Pixel-only features that make devices like the Pixel 7a compelling.
Changes are incoming for the likes of Google News, Google Play Books, and Gboard. Find the full breakdown below.
- New widgets for three popular apps: Devices running Android 6 or newer are gaining three new widgets for Google TV, Google Finance, and Google News. The company says that these additions will help keep users abreast of new entertainment options, stock details, and general news.
- Emoji Kitchen: This nifty feature landed on Gboard in 2020 and lets users mash two common emojis together to form a new hybrid. We’ve seen plenty of changes to Emoji Kitchen in the past three years, but the latest update allows users to craft summer-themed emoji stickers that can be sent to friends, family, and colleagues in these warmer months. The feature is available worldwide for devices Android 6 or newer.
- Reading Practice: Coming to devices in the US running Android 8 or newer, Reading Practice is a new reading tutor for children baked into Google Play Books. The company notes that the feature also works with no charge media.
Wear OS updates
Wear OS is getting lots of love in this update, and it’s not limited to the latest version or the Pixel Watch, either.
- Spotify DJ and new widgets: For Wear OS 2 and Wear OS 3 devices in the US, UK, Ireland, and Canada, Spotify DJ lets users play a personalized list of content from their heavy rotation or favorite podcasts. A new selection of complications and widgets are also coming to devices where Spotify is supported.
- Google Wallet ticket support: San Francisco and Washington D.C. users can use their smartwatch as a tap-to-ride ticket thanks to new SmarTrip and Clipper card import support. This feature is available for users running Wear OS 2 and Wear OS 3 devices.
- New tile for notes: Finally, Wear OS 3 device owners can make users of a new Note tile for jotting down single notes or to-dos. This feature is made available globally.
Google is also announcing a new feature for Google One on Android devices and supported browsers dubbed the Dark Web report. The feature allows users in the US to run scans of their email addresses to check for security compromises. US users can also scan their social security numbers in the same way. This feature will eventually roll out to more than a dozen additional countries in the coming months.