Google today announced the next set of features coming to Android. It includes an integrated Password Checkup for devices running Android 9 and above. In addition, it will also have a way to schedule your texts. Along with other improvements to products like its screen reader TalkBack, Maps, Assistant, and Android Auto. However, this spring 2021 release is the latest in a series of smaller update bundles. It is similar to iOS “point releases,” which add new functionality and features to Android outside of the larger update cycle.
New Features in the latest Android Update
Password Checkup feature will inform users if any of their passwords are previously under-exposure. The feature introduced on Google Chrome back in 2019. Moreover, it is aiming at letting users safeguard their credentials before signing in for services. Google is updating Android with an improved Messages app that will let users schedule text messages. Moreover, accessibility-focussing TalkBack is also updated to help the visually challenged and people with low vision.
In terms of Password Checkup, a pop-up dialogue box will appear once ‘Autofill with Google’ is enabled. It will inform Android users about keying in an already compromised password. It will also include a link to the Password Manager page to let you review all your saved passwords.
You can enable Autofill with Google on your device running a stock Android experience. Go to Settings > System > Languages & input > Advanced and then select Google from the Autofill service option.
It is already a part of Google’s password manager that is accessible to all users with a Google account. Initially, it came in as a Chrome extension. Now, it is designed to look at usernames and passwords that are exposed during third-party breaches. It is to inform users if they pick any compromised or exposed passwords.
In addition to Password Checkup, Google is rolling out an updated Messages. It is especially for phones running Android 7 and above with the ability to schedule text messages.
TalkBack and More
Another flagship feature arriving in this Android release aims at making Android’s screen reader, known as TalkBack, easier to use for those users who are blind or have low vision. TalkBack today allows users to navigate their devices with their voices and gestures in order to read, write, send emails, share social media, order delivery, and more.
The updated version (TalkBack 9.1) will now include a dozen new multi-finger gestures to interact with apps and perform common actions, like selecting and editing text, controlling media, or getting help. This will work on Pixel and Samsung Galaxy devices from One UI 3 onwards, Google says.
Moreover, Google is averting back to its single menu system users want after seeing users’ feedback. This single menu will adapt to context while also providing consistent access to the most common functions. Users need to download or update the Android Accessibility Suite on their Android devices to get an updated experience.
Google Assistant on Android is also updated with the ability to work better even when the phone is locked. You need to turn on the Lock Screen Personal Results in the Assistant setting to start using Google Assistant for setting up an alarm or playing a music track — without unlocking your phone. Once the setting turns on, you can say your instruction to work with the Assistant when your phone is locked.
Google Maps on Android is also getting a dedicated dark theme to help you save battery while navigating to a destination. You just need to go to Settings > Theme > Always in Dark Theme on Google Maps to enable the dark theme. Similarly, you can switch to a dedicated light theme by going to Settings > Theme > Always in Light Theme.
And finally, Android Auto will now include custom wallpapers and voice-activated games like trivia and “Jeopardy!” that you can ask for via the “Hey Google” command. Android Auto users are provided with shortcuts on the launch screen to let them access contacts. Moreover, they can even use Google Assistant by tapping on the available icons.
The list of new features will be available in the coming days on phones based on Android 6.0 and above.
Marketer to the core, a writer from the soul. Engineer and an MBA turned budding tech writer - dabbling her hands in all genres of writing from tech to fiction. If not writing, you will always find me reading anything and everything. Otherwise, you will find me learning new languages.