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Google has announced seven major updates to Android. Here's what's new.

Google has announced seven major updates to Android. Here's what's new.



If you have an Android phone, tablet, or Wear OS watch, take note: Google has announced a series of new features that will be released soon. From updates to Google Messages to an improved hotspot experience, there's a lot to dig into.

Earlier this year, Google was spotted testing a new editing feature in the Google Messages app that takes advantage of RCS, and now the feature has finally made its way to the app in the latest Android feature release.

After you've sent a message that needs editing, simply select it and tap the edit button at the top (the pencil icon) to make the changes. This latest feature brings the Google Messages experience on parity with iMessage, which has offered message editing for some time and will also adopt the RCS protocol later this year.

Google has finally streamlined the experience of creating and linking hotspots. For people like me who use mobile hotspots all day, this is a long-awaited step in the right direction. “Instant Hotspot” is what Google is calling the improved system.


Once the feature is widely rolled out, users will no longer have to go through the hassle of entering passwords or scanning QR codes. Similarly, during a Google Meet audio or video call, users will be able to easily move the call between their Android devices or browser-connected devices.

Google is rolling out these two features under the banner of “cross-device services,” and as you'd expect, they'll work the same way Apple currently implements them across devices: they'll be tied to a universal account. In this case, all you need to do is make sure you're logged into the same Google account on all your devices, and you'll be ready to go.


Another quality of life upgrade coming to the Google ecosystem is support for standalone home screen widgets to control smart appliances. This feature is currently in preview testing and will be released as a Favorites widget on Google Home.

The idea is to eliminate the need to go to the Google Home app for simple actions like turning off the lights, lowering the thermostat, etc. Similarly, Google Home's favorite tiles and complications will also be coming to Wear OS, allowing users to perform the same actions from the smartwatch on their wrist.


For users in the US and Germany, Wear OS is integrating PayPal within the Google Wallet app, allowing users to make contactless payments on their smartwatches. Samsung has previously offered a similar feature on its Galaxy smartwatches.

There are a few other smaller new features: Google is adding new combinations to its excellent Emoji Kitchen, a tool that lets you combine multiple emojis to create new cute (or cursed) creations. Two of the new emojis being added to the kitchen are the disco ball and headphones emojis.

Finally, the Digital Car Key is currently available in “selected” MINI vehicles, and will be “soon” expanded to select Polestar and Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

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