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Google launches nine new Android features at Mobile World Congress

A chunk of these new features are rolling out now, with a few others coming later.

Published onFebruary 27, 2023

  • Google announced nine new Android features at Mobile World Congress 2023.
  • Highlights include Fast Pair support on Chromebooks, page zoom on Chrome, and a few new Wear OS features.
  • Unfortunately, only some of these features are rolling out now, with the rest coming at an undisclosed date.

Mobile World Congress is happening now in Barcelona, Spain. There will be a ton of tech-related announcements this week, but some of the most exciting are Google’s Android announcements. Today, the company took the wraps off no fewer than nine new Android features. These are features for Android itself but are not attached to any particular version of the operating system. In other words, all Android users will see these updates!

About half of these features are rolling out now. However, the other half are coming at an undisclosed date. Check out the roundup of what to expect below.

New Android features coming today

Starting today, February 27, you can expect these features to appear on your phones and tablets.

  • Page zoom on Chrome for Android — Previously, if you were to pinch-to-zoom on Chrome for Android, you’d zoom the entire page, similarly to how you’d zoom a static image. Starting in Chrome Beta today (and rolling out to the stable channel soon), you can pinch-to-zoom and only increase the size of the text, images, video, and controls, but still preserve the page layout. This works at up to 300% zoom. You’ll also be able to set your default zoom level in Chrome for Android, so you don’t need to pinch each time.
  • Noise cancellation in Google Meet — This feature technically already exists on select phones and tablets, but now it will be available on many more. Essentially, this feature filters out background noise while you talk, making it perfect for folks who conduct meetings at coffee shops and airports.
  • Freehand PDF annotation in Drive — This brand new Android feature allows you to scribble notes on PDFs using your finger or stylus right within the Google Drive app. You can also highlight text to make sure it stands out when you or a colleague reads it.
  • New Emoji Kitchen combos — Combining two different Emoji is already possible in the Emoji Kitchen for Gboard, but now you can make even more wild combos.

Features coming at a later date

Fast Pair on Chromebook Image

Google wasn’t explicit about when these new Android features will land, but they are on the way.

  • Fast Pair on Chromebooks — If you have a set of earbuds, you’ll soon be able to connect them to your Chromebook with just one tap. To add to this, if those earbuds are already connected to your Android phone, you won’t even need to set them up at all — they’ll automatically be available on your Chromebook.
  • Google Keep single note widget — Manage your notes and check off your to-do list right from your home screen with this new widget.
  • Tap-to-pay animations in Wallet — When you successfully tap-to-pay with your Android phone using Google Wallet, you’ll soon see new animations confirming the transaction. Google is vague on what to expect but confirmed it will involve animals.
  • Google Keep complications on Wear OS — You’ll be able to quickly access Keep notes and other features from the main watch face on your Wear OS 3+ smartwatch.
  • New sound and display modes for Wear OS — These new Wear OS 3+ features will improve accessibility on watches. You’ll be able to have mono audio in place of stereo and use color correction and grayscale display modes.
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