Google Rolls Out New Features, Updates for Android Mobile

Google is debuting a host of new features for its Android mobile phone interface. Reactions between iPhone and Android users will now appear as emoji in text messages. Videos will be experienced by all recipients in the same resolution as when sent through Google Photos links in a conversation, a feature the company says will soon be available for photos, too. The Portrait Blur now available to Pixel users and Google One members through Google Photos is expanded to work on pets, plants and food, and will soon be rolled out to Android users.

“The Gboard keyboard’s grammar correction feature is also seeing a wider rollout after previously having been exclusive to Pixel phones. Google says the feature works on-device and joins its existing spell-checking functionality,” according to The Verge. Gboard is also adding another 2,000 emoji mashups, including stickers that interoperate with various messaging apps and online services.

The Live Transcribe accessibility app — designed for quick, convenient speech-to-text transcriptions for those hard of hearing — is updated to work offline. Google says this will be helpful for conversations in subways, airplanes and in places where Internet is unreliable. Live Transcribe, pre-installed on Pixel and Samsung phones, becomes available across Android phones.

In addition, “Google Assistant is getting some parking features that’ll let you pay, check your parking status, and extend your time using just your voice. It works by integrating with ParkMobile and is available in over 400 U.S. cities,” The Verge reports.

Nearby Share, another Android feature, can now be used to “share photos, videos, links, audio files and documents with multiple nearby people at once by tapping to add more people during a transfer. The update is rolling out now on all Android 6+ devices,” writes CNET, noting that Google aims to make texting between iPhone and Android phones easier by allowing Google Messages to support iPhone text reactions in-thread.

“The improved support for reactions, which Apple calls Tapback, will likely be a big deal for Android owners with friends who use iPhones,” explains CNET in a separate article.

As per the company blog, more improvements are being introduced. Google TV “is getting a new ‘Highlights tab,’ designed to offer a feed of entertainment news and reviews based on movies and shows you follow,” not unlike Microsoft Start, the Windows news and events feed across Android, iOS, and the web that debuted in September, detailed in Windows Central.

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