Google has announced some big new features coming to Android and Wear OS devices during the Mobile World Congress 2023 event in Barcelona, Spain. These new features are beginning to roll out starting today, February 27, with others to come later.
New Android features available starting February 27
Google Drive users will now be able to do freehand annotation on Android phones and tablets. This means you are now able to use a stylus or your fingers to annotate PDFs directly in the Google Drive app on Android.
Google Meet users will now get noise cancellation on Android phones and tablets. The noise cancellation feature will filter out distracting background sounds while you talk. Those who use the Gboard keyboard will now have a new Emoji Kitchen, where you can mash up, remix, and share emoji combinations as stickers.
Chrome users on Android will now have access to page zoom. This is starting in Chrome Beta first before it rolls out to everyone on the general release. With page zoom, you’re able to easily increase the size of content up to 300% in the Chrome browser. This includes text, images, video, and even interactive controls. Despite being zoomed in, it will still preserve the page layout. You can also set a preferred content size as a default setting, eliminating the need to change it each time you use Chrome.
If you already have access to the Chrome Beta, you can try this feature out now by going to Settings > Accessibility in the Chrome browser app.
More Android and Wear OS features coming later
As of right now, the features we just mentioned should be rolling out today. But there’s more to come, though Google has not issued a solid release date for the following new features as of yet, aside from “coming soon.”
Google Wallet will get tap-to-pay animations, which help give visual context to confirm an in-store transaction. These animations include cheerful penguins and other characters.
Google Keep users will soon be able to have a single note widget, allowing you to manage your notes and to-do lists with a widget on your home screen. The widget will show reminders, background colors, and images added to notes from the app — all while syncing with your smartwatch. Additionally, Wear OS users will be able to have new Google Keep complications — two new shortcuts for Wear OS 3 let you create notes and to-do lists just by tapping your watch face.
There will also be two new sound and display modes for Wear OS users, which improve overall watch accessibility. Mono-audio limits disorientation that can be caused by split-audio, and color-connection and grayscale modes provide more options for those who need more display options.
Finally, Chromebook users will get Fast Pair, allowing for easy pairing and connection to headphones on a Chromebook. If you already have headphones set up with your Android phone, Chromebooks will automatically connect to them when they’re within range.