Google has started rolling out its January 2024 Android feature drop for its Pixel devices. It arrives with some exciting new AI features and improvements to make your device more useful and smarter.
The most notable feature is the Circle to Search feature, which lets you circle anything on your screen and get more information from Google. This feature is recently announced for the Samsung Galaxy S24 series.
In addition, Google also renames Nearby Share to Quick Share by collaborating with Samsung. It is a file-sharing feature that allows you to send content to nearby devices that support it.
In addition, the built-in thermometer feature is also added to Pixel 8 Pro, which can now measure your body temperature and is useful for health monitoring or checking for fever. Google claims this feature is medical-grade and has FDA clearance.
Furthermore, the January 2024 Android feature drop also brings a Magic Compose feature for older Pixel devices. It uses AI to rewrite your messages in different styles. You can choose to make your messages more professional, concise, or casual.
Not only this, Google is adding some features to its Pixel Watch and Messages app. The Pixel Watch will get automatic audio switching, which lets you switch your Pixel Buds Pro between your watch and other Pixel devices. The Messages app will get Photomoji, which lets you create personalized emojis from your photos.
Android Auto adds a new feature to show which apps work only when parked
Google is enhancing some functions of the Android Auto app through a new update. The app allows you to use your smartphone apps on your car’s display. Now, the latest update of Android Auto comes with a new feature that shows which apps are only functional when the car is parked.
Some apps on Android Auto, such as GameSnacks, are created to provide entertainment or utility when the vehicle is stopped and parked. However, these apps are not accessible when the car is in motion, and you would get an error message if you tried to open them.
To make it easier for users to identify which apps are park-only, Android Auto now displays a “P” icon on the app icons. This way, you can avoid tapping on apps that won’t work while driving.
This feature is available in Android Auto version 11.4, which was first spotted by SmartDroid. The update is rolling out so you need to check the Play Store to install it. Android Auto is compatible with most Android phones and cars that support it.
Google Wallet introduces manual Archive feature for better pass management
Sometimes you have too many passes that clutter your Google Wallet home screen, or you might want to keep some of the passes that have expired for future reference. That’s why Google Wallet has come up with a new feature that allows you to archive and unarchive your passes and loyalty cards.
The new option is available in the pass details menu, along with the remove option. You can archive any pass or loyalty card that you don’t need at the moment, and it will be moved to the archived section at the bottom of the Wallet home screen. You can also unarchive any pass that you want to bring back to the main screen.
Google recently rolled out the archive and unarchive feature and it is also compatible with Wear OS devices. Google said that this feature can help users hide unused passes on their watches, where scrolling a long list is not ideal. This feature was added with the official announcement at MWC 2024.
Google Phone app bringing ‘Audiomojis’ to add sound effects to calls
Google is reportedly developing a new feature called Audiomojis for its Phone app. This new feature will allow users to add sound effects to their phone conversations. The feature was discovered in the latest beta version of the Google Phone app by TheSpAndroid.
According to the information, the Google Phone app contains files related to six Audiomojis which are drum roll, sad, applause, party pooper, laugh, and poop. These are sound effects that users can use during a call to convey their emotions or add humor.
Moreover, the report also claims that each Audiomoji has an associated animation that would appear on the screen, such as a drum set or a poop emoji. It also suggests that it could be integrated with the Call Screen feature.
The feature is currently in beta testing and there is no official confirmation from Google regarding its existence or availability. However, Google may launch the feature to the public soon.
If users are interested in testing the Audiomoji feature, they can sign up for the beta program of the Phone by Google app. However, they should be aware that beta versions may have bugs or issues, and the feature may not be available for everyone.