Google’s Pixel phones aren’t the only Android phones that receive new toys on a regular basis. Alongside those fun quarterly Pixel Feature Drops, Google is also pretty good about releasing Android Feature Drops that add new features to many of the Google services you use on almost any phone that runs Android. These are the types of feature releases that (almost) everyone can take advantage of.
For today, Google is announcing the September 2023 Android Feature Drop (here is last quarter’s), with at least 5 new features to be on the lookout for. Google’s At a Glance widget, Google Wallet, Android Auto, and Lookout are all getting new goods.
First up, we have the At a Glance widget that is non-removable on Pixel phones, yet is a true widget on other Android phones. The true version is getting an update that “intuitively surfaces helpful information on your home screen,” which could mean dynamic travel updates (like your flight info changing to baggage info, etc.).
Next, we have Google Wallet seeing the launch of its photo import for passes. We knew about this previously, but Google says it is now ready for you to use. This is the feature that allows you to snap or upload images of cards that have barcodes or QR codes to turn them digital. Think of your gym or library or grocery cards now in Google Wallet instead of stuffed in you wallet or attached to a keyring.
Want to access your sleep data from Google Fit or Fitbit with your voice? Google is adding options within Routines that will let you say, “Hey Google, good morning,” and hear all about your night. Well, it’ll do more than that, but the idea is to get you audio fitness info on hours slept, sleep time start, and step count from the day prior. To get this setup, head over to this Google support link.
And here’s a list of a bunch of other changes that are either new or have been announced in recent weeks that are a part of your Android experience:
- What about accessing Zoom or Webex calls on Android Auto? That’s coming soon.
- Lookout is getting AI generated audio descriptions of visual content, where users can use voice commands to get more info or type/speak out follow-up questions.
- Gmail translates emails within the Gmail app now. Neat, right?
- Google Meet is getting a more simplified on-the-go call experience.
- YouTube Shorts will now let you add flair to people or places within your Shorts frame.
- Google Messages now encrypts all of your messages end-to-end, even the group chats.
See anything new you’ll take advantage of?