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  • Post published:11/03/2022
  • Post last modified:11/03/2022

Google today announced several major functional changes to Android, including updates to Messages, Photos, and more.

“The Android team has been busy working on a suite of updates that add new dimensions to the apps you already love,” Google product manager Phil Ou writes in the announcement post. “From huge updates to messaging (including more connection with your iPhone friends) to powerful photo editing tools and even smarter ways to pay for parking, these upgrades bring more helpful technology to messaging, entertainment, and more.”

Here’s what’s new.

iPhone-compatible reactions in Messages. The Google Messages app now correctly displays reactions from iPhone users as emojis. This is available now in English, with additional languages to follow, Google says.

Improved photo sharing in Messages. With Google Photos integration in Messages, users can now share higher-resolution photos than are possible with SMS, which is what it normally defaults to when you share with an iPhone user. Since the RCS standard supports high-resolution photo sharing, Google is explicitly “encouraging Apple to join the rest of the mobile industry and adopt RCS so that we can make messaging better and more secure, no matter what device you choose.”

Improved Messages organization. Messages will now sort your messages into Personal and Business views. And you can now create one-time password messages that are automatically deleted after 24 hours to help reduce clutter further in the U.S. (This was originally launched in India.)

Nudges in Messages. Messages will now send you nudges to remind you to reply to messages you may have missed or need to follow up on. This is rolling out first to English users worldwide.

Celebration reminders in Messages. Messages will now remind you when it’s a contact’s birthday.

Grammar correction in Gboard. Google’s keyboard for Android already provides spell checking, but now it provides grammar checking too.

Live Transcribe when offline. Live Transcribe provides real-time speech-to-text captions to enable everyday in-person conversations between people who are deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing, Google says. But now the app now offers an offline mode for when Wi-Fi and data aren’t available, like on an airplane, in the subway, or in other areas without consistent internet access.

Portrait blur in Google Photos. Google Photos for Android will soon be updated so that you can add a portrait blur effect to any photo, no matter when or how it was taken.

Highlights in Google TV. Google’s entertainment app is picking up a pointless news feed called Highlights.

Pay for parking with Google Assistant. Google Assistant is integrating with Google Pay so you can now pay for parking, check your parking status, and extend your parking using your voice. Just say, “Hey Google, pay for parking” once you’ve parked, and follow Assistant prompts to pay from your phone. Or say “Hey Google, parking status” or “Hey Google, extend parking” to perform those options. This is available in ParkMobile street parking zones in over 400 cities in the U.S., Google says.

New screen time widget. A new screen time widget will offer a glimpse into three apps you use the most each day, and let you quickly access Digital Wellbeing, where you can set daily timers for your apps, configure focus mode, and configure bedtime mode.

Nearby share improvements. Nearby share can now help you share photos, videos, documents, links, audio files, or folders with multiple people, instead of just one at a time.

Tagged with Google Messages

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