Google is constantly developing new ways to help us add a personal touch to messages, to keep us safe, to be entertained, and more. They recently unveiled several new features for Android devices that help everything from smartphones and tablets to Google TV and the Wear OS smartwatch reach their full potential.
So, what do these new features mean for you and your Android? What do they do, and how do they keep you safe? This article will guide you through the latest updates to Android, highlighting the best features across four key areas: security, communication, accessibility, and control.
Enhanced security features
Every day, criminals are developing new ways to target us. Our devices must receive new ways to defend themselves from attack. The update from Google brings forth brand new ways to stay protected, including:
Ensuring your personal safety
Google’s new update introduces newer and better ways to stay safe in our everyday lives. The Personal Safety app, for example, can connect you with emergency services or your emergency contact number if and when you need help.
It will also help share vital information that could make all the difference in getting help quickly, such as sharing your exact location, recording nearby sounds, and more.
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Protecting your passwords
Do you struggle to remember long passwords? Worried about your login security? New features from Google can help make it easier to log into your websites and apps without compromising your online safety.
You can now set a custom PIN on your FIDO2 security keys, ordinarily used to verify your identity when logging into sites and apps. While the PIN can mean easy logins, it also offers an added layer of security through two-factor authentication. If your security key is compromised, hackers won’t know your PIN code and thus can’t break into your account.
Accessing private files and folders on other devices
We’re all very protective of our private folders. But, accessing these files from other devices can be frustrating. New cloud backup features allow you to access private and sensitive files and folders on all your devices without compromising security.
For example, you can view locked material from your smartphone or PC. You’ll still need to enter your password, ensuring that you (and only you) can view these files.
Staying anonymous online
Keep in mind that these enhanced security features won’t be enough to ensure your online privacy. For an extra layer of security, Android users should also use dedicated cybersecurity tools to protect their devices from a cyberattack. One of the best ones to invest in from the get-go is a virtual private network (VPN).
A VPN encrypts your internet connection, ensuring total privacy in your online activity, even on public Wi-Fi networks. All you need to do is download a VPN APK file from your service provider. This special type of file will allow you to install the VPN app on your phone and enjoy immediate protection.
Enhanced communication features
We use our phones and tablets to communicate with everyone, including friends, family, work colleagues, and more. Several new features can add a spark to your text and video messages, including:
Using Voice Moods to add something special to messages
Want to add something unique and attention-grabbing to your next voice message? Voice Moods is a great new feature that allows you to add unique backgrounds, moving emoji, and more to your message. This will enable you to match a visual theme to your voice messages, helping you express yourself even more with friends.
Remix emojis for better text messages
Emojis are one of the easiest ways of sharing our thoughts. Android is constantly developing new ways to use these emojis in messages. A new message feature allows you to combine your favorite emojis and share them with your loved ones, with new combinations released periodically.
Whether you want to combine ideas for date night or share dinner plans with the family, these unique emojis can be sent as stickers and are sure to get your message across with just the click of a button!
Make a bigger reaction in chats
Showing your feelings or thoughts in a fast-paced group chat can be challenging. Innovative new reaction effects in Google Messages allow you to transform simple symbols, like a ‘thumbs up,’ into a full-screen animated display.
This not only injects some fun and energy into the flow of a chat but can highlight if you agree with something, want some clarity on an issue, and more.
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Enhanced accessibility options
Accessibility is when devices and services are as usable for as many people as possible. A host of new Android features will significantly impact our ability to enjoy and understand content. These include:
AI technology is changing how we read and understand information. TalkBack is an innovative new feature on Android that allows users to hear AI image descriptions.
This can help blind and low-vision users easily understand images as TalkBack reads aloud the information. Best of all, it works on photos you take, photos found online, and even picture messages sent by friends.
Struggling to read tiny print on web pages? New features allow you to zoom up to 300% in your Chrome browser while preserving the page layout. This will enable you to hone in on pieces of text or examine images up close quickly without distorting the information.
More ways to make and understand phone calls
Finally, new features in Live Caption offer more language options to captions and enable you to reply during phone calls by texting in your responses. These messages are then read aloud to you, allowing you to take calls without having to hear the person or, in turn, reply with your own voice.
Better entertainment and controls
Finally, Google and Android recognize how important it is to keep us entertained and simplify everyday tasks! These new features will help you make the most of all the devices around your home.
Enjoy free access to Google TV
Whether it’s shows, movies, or documentaries, TV lovers will rejoice in the brand new Android features that allow you to watch up to 10 channels for free on Google TV. You’ll also enjoy more than 100 other free US channels without additional subscriptions or jumping to different platforms.
Ensure smarter and safer smart homes
From lights and cameras to vacuums, mops, and many other appliances, our homes connect to the internet in many different ways. Keeping track of them all can feel almost impossible at times. New features allow you to monitor and turn these appliances on/off with your Android device.
This allows you to turn on and dock appliances for charging and turn on/off lights and cameras to protect your home when you’re not there.
Keep track of your time
Finally, brand-new features from Google allow you to finish more quickly. Assistant routines on your Wear OS smartwatch can help you from the start of your day till the end, including finding the best way to commute to work, hearing all of the events and activities on your agenda, checking on the weather forecast, and much more.
If you’re running low on time, an At a Glance feature lets you see important information on your Android lock screens, including upcoming events and ticket information, flight information, and essential reminders – all quick and easy!