It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Google’s gift to the world appears to be a bunch of new features for Android, which include some Christmas-specific ones too.
The first new present from Google to Android users is some new addition to the Styles and collage editor feature in Google Photos. Back in September, Google Photos had an update that allowed you to make collages from within Google Photos itself. It also came with Styles where you can add graphic art to your photo memories and collages to make them a bit more interesting. With Christmas right around the corner, Google Photos now gets two new unique designs from Australian visual duo DABSMYLA along with watercolour artist Yao Cheng Design.
The next gift from Google to Android meanwhile is definitely on-theme for the holidays. If you’re a Gboard user, you’ll now find a few new emojis in Emoji Kitchen that you can combine and mash up to make your own Christmas-sy emojis when texting others, such as mixing up the snowman emoji with your favourite animal.
There are a couple more quality of life updates in Google’s new feature list for Android too. The new Reading Mode on Android improves the overall user experience for people who may be blind or have low vision, or those who have reading difficulties like dyslexia. It gives the user a number of customisable display options that let you tweak the contrast, font and size of text, along with a text-to-speech function to let your phone read out what’s on screen.
Other new features of note on Android include the ability to cast directly from the Google TV app on your smartphone to a compatible TV with just a single tap, as well as some improvements to the Google Keep notes app on Wear OS smartwatches. You can also soon use Google Assistant to quickly do one of over 30 different exercise types using the Adidas Running app simply by saying ‘Hey Google, start a run with Adidas Running’ to begin your run or any other of the supported workouts.
For the full list of new features coming to Android, you can check out Google’s blog post on it here.