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Google just announced 7 big Android updates. Here’s what’s new

Text editing in Google Messages.

If you have an Android phone or tablet or a Wear OS watch, you should sit up and pay attention. Google has just announced a bundle of new features it’s rolling out soon, and from Google Messages updates to a better hotspot experience, there’s a lot to dig into.

Earlier this year, Google was spotted testing a new edit feature for its RCS-powered Google Messages app. Well, it has finally made its way to the app with the latest Android feature drop.

After sending a message that needs some correction, all you need to do is select the message and then tap on the edit button (the pencil icon) at the top to make revisions. The latest trick brings the Google Messages experience to feature parity with iMessage, which has offered message editing for a while and will also be embracing the RCS protocol later this year.

Google is also finally streamlining the hotspot creation and linking experience. For a person like me who works with a mobile hotspot all day long, this is a much-needed step in the right direction. “Instant Hotspot” is what Google calls the refined system.

Cross device services on Android phone.

When the feature rolls out widely, users will no longer have to go through the hassle of entering the password or having to scan QR codes. In a similar vein, during Google Meet audio or video calls, users will be able to effortlessly move their calls between their Android devices or browser-connected devices.

Google is rolling these two features under the “cross-device services” banner. And as expected, it would work in just the way Apple has currently implemented across its devices — tethered to a universal account. In this case, all you need to do is make sure that the same Google account is signed in across all your devices, and you’re good to go.

Smart home widgets on Android home screen.

Another quality-of-life upgrade that is coming to the Google ecosystem is support for standalone home screen widgets for controlling smart home appliances. At the moment, this feature is in the preview testing stage and will be released as the Google Home Favorites widget.

The idea is to save you a trip to the Google Home app for something as simple as turning off the lights or reducing the thermostat temperature. On a similar note, the Google Home Favorites tile and complication is also making its way to Wear OS, letting users accomplish the same chore from the smartwatch on their wrists.

PayPal support in Google Wallet for Wear OS.

For users based in the U.S. and Germany, Wear OS is integrating PayPal within the Google Wallet app, allowing users to make contactless payments with their smartwatch. Samsung has offered a similar trick on its Galaxy smartwatches for a while now.

There are some other smaller new features, too. Google is adding new combinations for its excellent Emoji Kitchen, where you can combine multiple emojis for a new adorable (or cursed) creation. Two of the new emojis entering the Kitchen are the disco ball and headphones emoji.

Finally, digital car keys are now available for “select” MINI vehicles and will be “expanding soon” to some Polestar and Mercedes-Benz cars.

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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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