Google has announced many Android updates that cover several different apps and services. Google is not only adding new features, but also bringing features that were previously exclusive to the Pixel to other Android smartphones.
Google is launching a new feature called Camera Switches that allows users with movement disabilities to navigate the phone using eye movements and facial expressions. The camera switch controls can be edited, so gestures shorter or longer than the set time are ignored, so it looks like users will have a relatively fine level of customization to work with. The camera switches can be found in the Android Accessibility Suite as soon as the function is launched.
Also new is the Project Activate app, which uses eye movements and facial gestures, this time to activate predefined actions that allow those who are not talking or have movement disorders to communicate with others. Project Activate will offer a wide range of actions as users will be able to make their phone speak specific phrases, play audio, and send text messages. In addition, Google says it has added handwriting recognition for Latin-based languages to its Lookout app.
The only update coming to Google TV is big, as it will allow you to use your phone as a remote control for your Google TV device. This, in turn, means that you can use your phone’s keyboard to enter search results. To use your phone as a remote control on Google TV and Android TV OS, all you have to do is add the corresponding shortcut to the quick settings on your smartphone.
Google also announced today that Pixel’s Locked Folder feature will be rolling out to other Android phones in the future. Locked Folder is a fairly straightforward feature as it allows you to isolate private photos and videos in a password-protected folder, preventing them from showing up in Google Photos. In addition, Google is developing Assistant support for daily reminders, allowing users to see all of their reminders at a glance by saying, “Hey Google, open my reminders.”
Gboard is streamlining the way copy and paste is done, with Google reporting that the keyboard will automatically sort copied information containing multiple phone numbers, email addresses, and URLs into a set of different paste options. Phones running Android 11 or newer will even be able to compose entire sentences using machine learning-based predictive input.
Google will also tweak Nearby Share visibility options, which will allow users to choose between being visible to everyone, only to people on their contact list, or to no one at all. Finally, Google is introducing Heads Up Mode, which will regularly remind users to look up from their phone when they are using it on the go.