Google Announces Android 12, App Updates, and More at IO Event
Google recently held its annual IO event to showcase some of its latest innovations, including “the biggest design change in Android’s history.” The tech giant also announced new updates to its apps, as well as new technology designed to protect your privacy and make shopping online easier. Here’s everything Google announced during its 2021 IO event, and when you can start using this new tech.
Google Announces Android 12 At IO
Google showcased Android 12 for the first time at the IO event, which the company calls its “most personal OS ever.” With its new Material You user interface, Android 12 will let you personalize the color palette of your phone based on what background image you choose.
With this new feature, Android 12 will analyze the dominant and complementary colors of your wallpaper image and use that information to generate different hues across the entire interface, including all your apps, the lock screen, widgets, and more.
In addition to new customization options, Google also added new ways for you to protect your privacy. With the new Privacy Dashboard, you can see what kind of data was accessed by your apps and when. Then you can also easily remove any app’s permission to track you and use your data.
Android 12 will also make it clear when an app is using your camera or microphone with a new on-screen indicator in the top-right corner. If you don’t want an app to access your sensors, there are two new toggles in Quick Settings that allow you to disable any app from using your camera and mic without your permission.
Finally, Google said that Android 12 will come with a new Digital Car Key feature that will allow you to lock, unlock, and start your car from your phone. Plus, there will be a built-in TV remote that will let you control any Android TV from your phone “right out of the box.”
Google said that Android 12 will be released this fall, but you can already start using some of the features in the beta version that is available on selected devices now.
New Workspaces Features
During the IO event, Google announced Smart Canvas, which combines Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Meet all in one place. This way, you can present a Doc while video chatting with your team in Google Meet, and everyone will be able to see and hear each other without switching between apps.
Google also showcased other Smart Canvas features that let you assign checklists, create interactive polls, and view timelines to help you track tasks across your team. Plus, the tech giant claimed it will be updating its video chat app by adding noise cancellation, real-time translation, and automatic zoom and lighting enhancements to Google Meet in the coming months.
While many of the new Smart Canvas features won’t be available until this fall, you can already start using “smart chips” in Google Docs now. With this new feature, you can quickly link to a Google Doc, Sheet, or Calendar event by typing “@” and entering the name of the file you want to share.
Google Photos Updates Announces at IO
Google announced lots of new features that are coming to the Photos app, including machine-learning capabilities that allow you to create moving images from two similar still shots. This new Cinematic Photos feature will be available on select Android devices starting this summer.
The tech giant will also use machine learning to automatically generate albums for you based on photos that have similar shapes and colors. Plus, Google is bringing password-protected folders to Photos, so they won’t show up when someone scrolls through your photos.
Google Maps Updates Announced at IO
At the IO event, Google also announced it is adding even more detail to its Maps app. Soon, you will be able to see crosswalks, sidewalks, and pedestrian lanes when you get walking directions. This feature will be rolled out to over 50 major cities this year.
Google will also let you access its augmented reality (AR) overlay in Live View right from the map. This lets you walk through a city with a street-level 3D view and see street name overlays and details about businesses and other places of interest.
Google announced a pilot program during the IO event that will make it easier for you to find and purchase anything you see. Soon, when you view any screenshot in Google Photos, you will have the option to search the image and purchase items right from the app.
Google is also working on a way that you can buy items that you see in YouTube videos. Plus, you will soon be able to add all your open carts to your Chrome’s new tab page. This page will also link to your loyalty programs and include a price tracker, so you can easily see when items you want are on sale.
Google’s New Privacy Features
During the IO event, Google spent a lot of time focusing on new privacy features, including an easy way to delete the last 15 minutes of your search history and lots of ways to help you create strong and unique passwords for all your accounts.
Starting now, Google Chrome will alert you when your password has been compromised. Then you can change your password right from the browser’s built-in password manager.
To run a check on your passwords for security issues now, open Google Chrome and click the three-dot icon in the top-right corner. Then select Settings and click Passwords. Finally, select the Check Passwords button to find and change any weak or compromised passwords.
You will also be able to import your passwords from other password managers and your Android devices to make things easier. If you have trouble remembering your old password, check out our list of the best password managers for any device.