The holiday season is here! Here are some great ways you can get the most out of your Android device with extra features recently added by Google.
The holidays are coming up fast, so today we want to focus on ways your Android can be of use this holiday season. Here are six novel ways you can get the most out of your Android tech over the holiday season with new and exciting features from Google, not even counting major operating system updates!
Table of Contents
1. Listen to ANY Book as An Audiobook
Everyone loves to chill out and catch up on some reading over the holiday breaks, but audiobooks are perhaps the most convenient way to get immersed in a story in the fast-paced modern era. Not every book is converted into audio form, however, particularly indie books or other lesser-known works. Luckily Google Play, working in cohesion with publishers in the U.S. and the UK, has come out with new software which auto-generates narrators. This means basically any book without an audio version can be narrated in an instant! You’ll have WAY more audio titles to choose from on the Play Store now. The publisher tool to create these auto-narrated audiobooks is currently in beta, but we’re expecting it to be released to all publishers early next year.
2. More Emojis!
Thanks to the addition of the Emoji Kitchen to Gboard, billions of people have been able to mix their favorite emoji into customized stickers. In the latest Emoji Kitchen update, however, Google is taking the Kitchen from hundreds of designs to OVER 14,000 UNIQUE COMBINATIONS. This means it’s way easier to create your own unique emoji, with tons of designs to choose from. Now you can just tap two emojis to see suggested combos, or simply double tap one to reveal alternate emojis in a similar vein. The new Emoji Kitchen is already out on Gboard beta, and will release on Android 6.0 soon.
3. Share Your Apps with Nearby Share
A new and improved version of Nearby Share is going to allow you to share any app from Google Play with everyone around you who also operates on Android, EVEN WITHOUT WIFI OR CELLULAR CONNECTION! Just open Google Play and head over to the “Share Apps” menu in the “My Apps & Games” section. Then select the apps you want to share and let your friend accept them. This update hasn’t arrived yet, but will be here shortly.
4. Android Auto Grows!
In the coming months, Android Auto is being released in many new countries. This outstanding little program allows you to take your favorite apps and services and sync them up with your car display. You can do everything from chat with Google, send messages, get GPS directions, play tunes, and more. This helps you get the functionality of your Android while driving but still allows you to have your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road (where they should be!). For phones that run Android 10 and above, just plug your Android into a compatible car. For phones running Android 9 and earlier, you’ll need to download the app directly.
5. Voice Access for Hands-Off Control
Voice Access allows you the awesome power to control your phone with only your voice. Built with people with motor disabilities in mind, this update now utilizes machine learning technology, which lets you add labels to the screen of your apps so you can operate them solely using your voice. For instance, you could say “tap Search” or “tap Your Map” or “open Photos” and the phone would do it for you. This is also a great boon for using your phone while driving or other “hands on” tasks.
This feature was already rolled out with Android 11, but the new and improved version of Voice Access has finally been released worldwide on every Android device 6.0 and higher. Download Voice Access on Google Play so you can join the beta and try the updated version of this rad service.
6. Navigate with the Go Tab in Google Maps
Easily navigate to frequently-visited places with just one tap using the all-new “Go Tab” in Google Maps. This tab allows you to pin your favorite destinations like home, school, or a local store, and then you can easily check directions, accidents or other issues in your path, live traffic trends, and more without even having to type the address in. If you use public transportation, you can also pin specific public transit routes to check your departure and arrival times, and find alerts from your local transportation agency. It’s even possible to pin several different routes to the same destination to compare and contrast and find out which route will get you there the fastest. The Go Tab is heading on its way out on Android in the next few weeks.