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

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Google has just unveiled a suite of seven significant updates for Android devices and Wear OS watches, aimed at enhancing user experience across various functionalities. Here’s a detailed look at what’s new:

1. Message Editing in Google Messages

Google Messages now allows users to edit sent messages. After sending a message, users can select it and tap the pencil icon to make revisions. This brings Google Messages on par with iMessage, which has had this feature for a while and will support the RCS protocol later this year.

2. Instant Hotspot

Google has introduced a streamlined hotspot creation and linking experience called “Instant Hotspot.” This feature eliminates the need to enter passwords or scan QR codes, making it much easier to use your phone as a mobile hotspot.

3. Cross-Device Services

New cross-device features allow seamless movement of Google Meet audio or video calls between Android devices or browser-connected devices. This functionality is similar to what Apple offers, requiring the same Google account to be signed in across all devices for it to work.

4. Smart Home Widgets

Google is adding standalone home screen widgets for controlling smart home appliances. Currently in preview, the Google Home Favorites widget will let users control devices like lights and thermostats directly from the home screen, without needing to open the Google Home app. This feature will also be available as a tile and complication on Wear OS, allowing smart home control from a smartwatch.

5. PayPal Integration in Google Wallet for Wear OS

Wear OS users in the U.S. and Germany can now use PayPal within the Google Wallet app to make contactless payments with their smartwatch. This feature has been available on Samsung Galaxy smartwatches and now extends to other Wear OS devices.

6. New Emoji Kitchen Combinations

Google is expanding its Emoji Kitchen with new combinations, including the disco ball and headphones emojis. Emoji Kitchen allows users to combine multiple emojis to create unique expressions, adding a fun element to messaging.

7. Digital Car Keys

Digital car keys are now available for select MINI vehicles, with plans to expand to some Polestar and Mercedes-Benz cars. This feature allows users to unlock and start their cars using their Android phones, providing a modern, convenient car access method.

These updates showcase Google’s commitment to enhancing the Android and Wear OS ecosystem, making devices more interconnected and user-friendly. From improved messaging and hotspot functionality to advanced smart home control and digital car keys, these features aim to simplify and enrich users’ digital lives.