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Google just announced 8 big Android updates. Here’s what’s new

A photo of many Android figurines on a white wall.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

At Moblie World Congress (MWC ) 2024, Google is bringing a healthy bunch of new features to Android. In line with the AI push all across the industry, some notable AI-driven enhancements are on the table. There are also a handful of core Android features that sound practically amazing.

The first in line is Gemini. The generative AI chatbot recently got a standalone app for Android, and now it’s headed for the Google Messages app. Users can chat with Gemini directly in the messaging app and use its generative capabilities for a host of things, like drafting replies, refining a message, and more.

Summarization and one-tap response in Android Auto.
Google

Another feature that was showcased a while ago is finally ready for prime time. Android Auto is gaining support for message summarization for standalone texts and group chats, and it can also suggest replies. With a single tap, users will also be able to drop a message, start a call, and share an estimated arrival time. The idea is to deploy AI for crucial tasks so that it can minimize distractions while driving.

Lookout, an accessibility-centric feature for users with vision challenges, is also getting meaningful AI love. On Android phones, Lookout will now read AI-generated captions and descriptions for media content. For now, the AI boost to Lookout and Messages is limited to the English language.

Fitbit integration with Health Connect apps.
Google

Google Lens is getting TalkBack integration, which means what’s in the camera view will now be intelligently analyzed for details and read out loud. For example, users can point their camera at the urban view in front of them and hear details such as ratings, directions, and business hours, among other relevant details.

Moving past the AI-driven improvements, we have an improvement to Google Docs that a lot of Workspace users — like me — are going to appreciate. On Android devices, users can now scribble using their finger or stylus to annotate documents.

Annotation in Google Docs.
Google

The Fitbit app will soon be home to data collected by other fitness apps compatible with the Health Connect system. Metrics like calories burnt, distance traveled, and step count, and others that were collected by other apps will be visible within the app’s Today tab.

Navigation on Wear OS.
Google

The Wear OS ecosystem is also getting some neat, functional tricks. Thanks to the Google Wallet app, users can now check their tickets, membership tokens, and boarding passes right on their smartwatches.

Passes and tickets on smartwatch.
Google

For folks who rely on their smartwatch for navigating, they can now get guided directions, check details like departure times, and even mirror the navigation steps visible on their phone straight to their smartwatch’s screen.

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Nadeem Sarwar
Nadeem is a tech journalist who started reading about cool smartphone tech out of curiosity and soon started writing…
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