Today, Google is celebrating the holidays by announcing a slew of new Android features that will be available soon or are already available.
To begin with the digital car key feature. In some countries, this is now available on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S21. For the time being, it will only work with BMW vehicles that are compatible
Then there's Family Bell, which will notify you and your family when important moments in the day have arrived. The notifications can be received on your phone, through your home speaker, or through your smart display. You can also set "bells" on your own devices to keep track of your personal goals in addition to the shared "bells." Watering a tree, having a family movie night, or volunteering to help a local cause are examples of suggested bells for the holidays.
New widgets are coming to three Google apps. The new Google Photos People & Pets widget lets you select a few faces and an appropriate frame, and then the widget will decorate your Home screen with your closest and dearest. The new YouTube Music widget puts playback controls and recently played tracks on your Home screen, and the new Google Photos People & Pets widget lets you select a few faces and an appropriate frame, and then the widget will decorate your home screen with your closest and dearest.
The new Photos widget will be available next week, while the others will be available at a later date. In the same vein as Photos, Memories is launching this week in the app, with a curated selection of photos and videos from holidays, as well as important milestones such as birthdays and graduations. If you want to, you can rename, personalise, correct, and remove these using specific controls
Google Play Services will offer auto-resetting of permissions for apps you haven't used in a while starting next month on Android 6.0 and later. Once apps have been idle for a while, this feature will turn off runtime permissions, which allow them to access data or perform actions on your behalf. When you open each app again, the permissions are reactivated.
Gboard now has new Emoji Kitchen combinations, including the wrapped gift box emoji and an all-new collection of furry friends. Gboard Beta users will get these today, and everyone else will get them "in the coming weeks
Finally, Android Auto can be set to launch automatically when you connect your Android phone to a compatible vehicle, and if you're anything like us, you're probably wondering why this isn't already a feature. Once you're on the road, you'll have access to "soon" smart replies, allowing you to respond to a text with the Google Assistant more quickly. Also "coming soon," the ability to search for music in your media apps using your voice