Android devices get new access and sharing features

Android introduces a host of new features to improve accessibility, customization, and productivity across different devices. One major announcement is that the nearby site – Google’s AirDrop competitor – is getting a much-needed update that allows users to easily send files between their own devices.

After you sign up to use the new feature on your Android phone or tablet, all transfers between those devices will automatically be accepted, even if the screen is turned off.

Self Sharing on Android mobiles and tablets

The new self-sharing feature can be used to easily send photos from your phone to your tablet.
Image: google

This self-sharing feature was Expected for a few monthsAnd while we’re glad to see that file transfers will be easier, it’s still disappointing (though not entirely surprising) that the feature is limited to Android-to-Android interactions. An official release date for self-sharing hasn’t been announced, but Google says the feature will arrive on devices in the “next few weeks.” (It’s not clear when exactly the other features mentioned in this update will be released.)

New updates will also improve accessibility across different Google services. Google Drive and Keep are getting redesigned tools for devices with larger screens that will give Android tablet users one-touch access to document files, presentations, and spreadsheets within Google Drive, while Keep will increase both size and font size, making It leads to better note-taking for people with low vision.

There’s also an upgrade for Android’s sound notifications – a little-known feature that can be found in your device’s accessibility settings.

Gif shows how to set up custom sound notifications on Android devices

You can record sounds from around your home, such as device tones, to be notified through your watch or phone when they go off.
Image: google

These voice notifications were originally intended to help people with hearing impairments. Turn it on, and your Android device will listen for sounds like fire alarms and knocking on your front door, creating a notification when it hears them. Now, users can create files Habit Alerts by recording specific noises. So, for example, you can record the song that your washing machine plays after it’s done a cycle, and then, when your Android phone, watch, or tablet hears that sound, it will send you a notification.

For those using Google TV, the service now also has a curated library of content with audio descriptions that you can find either by searching the service manually or using the voice-controlled Google Assistant (it’s not clear when exactly this feature was launched).

Google Meet users will also have access to multi-install during calls, allowing you to keep your attention on multiple specific people in larger group meetings – such as the keynote speaker and ASL interpreter.

A gif showing how to install callers in Google Meet

Google Meet will let you choose who to focus on during large conference calls.
Image: google

Google Meet also offers shared live experiences, such as gaming and co-viewing on Android mobile devices and tablets. This feature can be used to play classics like Uno and Kahoot! And the attention!as well as watching YouTube content with up to 100 people at a time.

Texting on Android devices is also getting a ‘Smart Emoji Suggestions’ update in Gboard, and Android will increase the emoji available for this feature by releasing new seasonal emoji packs for Emoji Kitchen that will be available as stickers.

A gif showing smart emoji suggestions on Android

Great for spamming emojis so that your friends and family will block you for being embarrassed.
Image: google

Finally, if you have a Wear OS smartwatch, it will also show you some extra functionality and fun. The Keep box can now be added to your watch for taking notes on the go, and Bitmoji can be added to your watch face. This cartoon avatar will change your expressions depending on what you’re doing, the time of day and even the weather. So, if you’re out for a run and you get caught in the rain, your watch will look as miserable as you feel.

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