Google has announced nine new features for Android, WearOS and Chromebooks aimed at enhancing the productivity, connectivity and accessibility of these devices at MWC 2023, kicking off in Barcelona on February 27. Chromebooks are getting Fast Pair support soon, and there are new Google Keep widgets for Android and WearOS, with the latter also getting new accessibility modes.
Services like Google Meet and Drive are also getting new features. Google Meet will now start offering noise cancellation on more Android devices, filtering out background noise during calls. Google Drive for Android is getting a productivity-focused feature allowing users to annotate PDFs by using a stylus or by simply touching the screen.
This gives users access to different ink strokes for writing notes or feedback and tools like the highlighter. Annotated documents can later be saved as a copy of the annotations themselves can be hidden, undone or deleted on the main document.
Chromebooks are about to get Fast Pair support for Bluetooth headphones with a single tap. Additionally, if the headphones are already paired to your Android smartphone, your Chromebook will automatically detect and connect to them. Google hasn’t announced a specific release date or window for the feature yet but it is said to be coming soon.
Google Keep is getting a single note widget that allows users to manage their notes and to-do lists from their Android phone’s home screen. This widget can display any reminders, background colours and images added to your notes using the Keep app. It also works with smartwatches, meaning any notes will be available for quick access on your wrist in addition to two new shortcuts to quickly create notes and to-do lists with a simple tap on the user’s watch face.
WearOS is also getting a mono-audio mode that can limit any disorientation caused by split audio as well as new colour correction and grayscale modes for more display choices. Speaking of choices, Gboard’s Emoji Kitchen feature is also getting new emoji combinations, specifically basketball team and spring options.
Not to be left behind, Chrome is also getting an accessibility update letting users increase the size of in-page content by up to 300% while still keeping the page layout intact. This element size can be set as the default, so the change doesn’t need to be made every time the browser is opened. This feature is available in Chrome Beta at the time of writing and will soon be rolling out publicly.
Last but not least, new tap-to-pay animations are also rolling out to Google Wallet when confirming your in-store transactions. The company hinted at cheerful penguins and other characters will start appearing in the app starting next week.