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Android's latest feature drop makes your devices work better together

Google is rolling out 8 new exciting Android features to "elevate your everyday." Here's what they are.

3 min read
Android's latest feature drop makes your devices work better together
Source: Google

Every quarter, Google unveils a slew of new features across its suite of Android apps that I like to call an Android Feature Drop. (Google actually used to call it this too, but they stopped perhaps due to the confusion it caused with Pixel Feature Drops.) The features they announce as part of these feature drops aren't exclusive to Pixel devices, so as long as you have an Android device and the apps in question, you should get access to them. Of course, that depends on when exactly the features roll out, which if you're familiar with Google feature rollouts, means it could be days or weeks before you get them.

So what's new in the June 2024 Android Feature Drop? Google's blog post highlights 7 (actually 8) big updates, with the overarching theme being how these features will make your various devices work better together.

1) Editing messages in Google Messages.

Hallelujah! You can finally edit messages after they're sent in Google Messages. This only works if both parties have Google's RCS enabled in the app, and only up to 15 minutes after a message has been sent. Simply tap and hold a sent RCS message to start editing.

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2) Instant hotspot.

Soon, you'll be able to easily connect your Android tablet or Chromebook to your phone's hotspot with a single tap (ie. without typing in your password), so long as all devices are signed into the same Google Account. This feature is called instant hotspot. I spotted settings for this feature back in September, but the requisite Google Play Services integration wasn't live yet.

3) Switch between devices for video calls.

If you're in a Google Meet call, you can now seamlessly switch between your connected devices (Android phone, tablet, or web browser) by tapping the Cast icon. This feature is made possible by an update to Cross-Device Services, according to the "what's new in Google System Updates" page, which was recently updated to say the following:

"[Phone] With Cross-device services, you can now switch between devices on video calls in apps like Google Meet."

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4) New Emoji Kitchen combos.

New emojis, like disco ball and headphones, have been added to the Emoji Kitchen sticker combinations, accessed through the Gboard app. Have fun!

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5) Google Home is finally adding a home screen widget.

If you sign up for the Public Preview, you'll be able to add the Google Home app's new "Favorites" widget to your phone's home screen. This widget makes it easy to manage and control your most frequently used smart home devices.

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6) Wear OS is getting a new Google Home tile and complication.

Wear OS already has a Google Home app (available on Wear OS 3 and above), but it's now getting a Google Home tile and complication. These make it even easier to view and control your smart home devices from your wrist. About time!

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7) Pay with PayPal from your Wear OS watch.

If you're in the U.S. or Germany, you can now make payments from your Wear OS smartwatch using PayPal on Google Wallet.

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8) Digital car keys are expanding.

You can now use your Android phone as a digital car key for select MINI models and soon select Mercedes-Benz and Polestar vehicles. With a digital car key, you can lock, unlock, and start your car using your phone. You can also securely share your digital car key with your friends and family members.


This is low-key one of the biggest Android feature drops I've ever seen! I've been waiting a long time for the cross-device features to roll out. I'm excited to see what other features Google bakes into its new cross-device services module of Play Services.


 

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