Every year during the Google I/O developer conference, we tend to focus on the hardware Google puts out such as the Pixel 6a this year. However, there’s actually quite a bit of new features for Android announced too, with a number of them focused on getting your multi-device life much easier to navigate.
Perhaps the best way to get your numerous devices in order is at the start when you’ve just unboxed it. As Liza Ma, Group Product Manager at Google explains, one of the biggest pet peeves with living with multiple devices is the need to set up everything. That’s where Google’s Fast Pair feature comes in. It’s been around for awhile now, with Fast Pair-enabled devices such as wireless earbuds and smartphones able to quickly and seamlessly pair up.
However, Ma says that they’ll be taking it one step further by launching Matter, a new open industry standard that Google is launching sometime later this year. Matter allows Google Nest hardware to easily connect with IoT hardware such as lights, smart plugs and more. Simply scan a Matter QR code on a Matter-enabled product using your smartphone to set it up with your home network of smart devices. It’s a bold plan, but whether other manufacturers adopt Matter remains to be seen.
That’s not the only way Google wants to improve Android when using multiple devices though. You can soon copy something on your smartphone and then paste it on another device like a tablet. The Google I/O demo shows the user copying something on the smartphone and then having it shrunk to the corner and using Nearby Share, a tablet then picks it up and pastes it there. Ma says it’ll work with anything from a URL link to a picture or even a screenshot.
Furthermore, Google is also planning to expand its Casting capabilities to a number of other hardware partners, such as Sony, Phillips, TCL and more. By giving more and more devices around you the ability to pair and sync up with each other this way, you can move your media to whichever screen or speaker makes the most sense to you. These Casting capabilities ought to stretch across TVs, Chromebooks, tablets, smartphones, speakers and more.
Lastly, Google will be extending Phone Hub so that you can directly access all of your smartphone’s messages apps via your Chromebook laptop. It works by streaming the messaging app you’re using onto your laptop, rather than needing you to download the various third party apps for desktop onto your Chromebook. This feature is set to roll out sometime after September this year too.
If you want to check out more from Google during their Google I/O conference, you can watch the full Google Keynote on YouTube. And if you’re a McLaren F1 fan, you’ll definitely want to see Ma’s full speech during the keynote as Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo make an appearance too.