UPDATED 13:20 EDT / FEBRUARY 27 2023


Google showcases new updates for Android and wearables at MWC

Google LLC announced new features for Android today at MWC 2023 in Barcelona aimed at improving users’ connectivity, productivity and enjoyment across their devices, including phones, wearables and Chromebooks.

New features that debuted at the former Mobile World Congress this week include updates to Google Keep, audio enhancements, instant pairing for Chromebook headphones, new emojis for smartphones, more wallet options and greater accessibility options. Many of these features are designed to bridge the gap between devices that people use together often, such as watches and phones or their laptops and headphones.

Fast Pair will connect new Bluetooth headphones to a Chromebook with one tap. If the headphones are already set up with an Android phone, the Chromebook will automatically connect to them with no additional setup.

Google Keep, the note-taking app, now gets a widget for the Android screen that makes it easy to make to-do lists right from the home screen on any mobile device. Reminders, background colors and images are automatically synced from the app and the to-do checkboxes can be easily checked off as they’re completed.

To make things even better, users with Android smartwatches can use create notes on Keep using voice using two new shortcuts directly from the watch face.

People who enjoy using Google Meet on the go can now worry less about noise during their meetings because the team has enhanced the background noise filters on more Android devices. That means that if users happen to walk past something loud while in a meeting and don’t mute themselves as they probably should, it will do a better job at reducing distracting loud sounds such as construction, road noise and lawnmowers.

For those highly expressive users who plaster their messages with emojis, there are now new emoji combinations in Emoji Kitchen, a part of the Gboard keyboard that allows users to enter a pair of emojis that will sometimes merge them together into a novel emoji based on both. Many of the new emojis users can cook up are based on sports and the upcoming spring season.

Also in the vein of flashy design and pretty colors, Google Wallet users will notice that they can customize their tap-to-pay experience with new animations including happy penguins and twirling dolphins. That doesn’t change anything about the payments process but is simply an animation skin over the confirmation when a payment itself is processed in a store.

Android users will also find their Chrome browser easier to use with better accessibility options. The size of almost everything in the browser can be increased by up to 300%, including text, images, video and interactive controls. Users can set their preference in content size and it will stay as a default. It will be released in March, but until then it’s accessible in Chrome Beta through Settings > Accessibility.

Finally, Wear OS 3 is introducing new accessibility modes related to audio and display to add more options for users with visual or auditory issues. Mono-audio will prevent the stereo effect from the watch to limit disorientation for users who have auditory processing issues. In addition, new color-correction and grayscale modes for watches provide more choices for displays.

Images: Google

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