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Google bringing Project Gameface for hand-free navigation to Android

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Google Project Gameface Android

Google has introduced a new accessibility feature for Android users called Project Gameface. This feature allows users to control their phone’s cursor with head movements and facial expressions, like raising eyebrows or opening their mouth.

This new feature uses a good combination of technologies, which include Android’s accessibility services, Google’s MediaPipe framework, and the smartphone’s front camera. Users can customize up to 52 different gestures and adjust the sensitivity of these gestures to suit their needs.

For this feature to work in different apps, app developers need to add support for Project Gameface. Google hopes that many developers will do this to make their apps more accessible to all Android users.

Google Project Gameface Android

The Project Gameface feature was first announced for Windows and is now coming to Android. It shows Google’s effort to make technology usable for all.

Project Gameface for Android was created with three main principles in mind:

  • To help people with disabilities use their phones in a new way
  • To make this help affordable and easy to get for as many people as possible.
  • To use what was learned from the GameFace launch version to make it even better and more personal for each user.

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Google to boost more Android apps with Gemini Nano

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Gemini nano apps

At the recent I/O 2024, Google showcased the importance of on-device AI for Android’s future. Some Android apps are already using Gemini Nano, and the search engine is going to expand it to more apps.

The session titled “Android on-device AI under the hood” highlighted the three uses of on-device generative AI – Cosume, Create, and Classify. These three offer text summarization, messaging suggestions, and sentiment analysis

The advantages of on-device AI are enhanced security, offline availability, reduced latency, and no cloud costs. However, the limitations include a smaller parameter size of 2-3 billion and a limited context window.

Gemini Nano is the chosen platform for developing on-device AI applications. Currently, Google’s apps like Pixel Recorder and Google Messages are using Gemini Nano, and more apps are expected to integrate it in 2024.

Google Gemini Nano apps

Future updates will introduce Gemini Nano for features like TalkBack captions and spam alerts. The Multimodality update is expected later in the year for Pixel devices.  Google aims to provide smarter, more secure, and more reliable services.

Gemini Nano will enhance Android’s call security with smart alerts

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Google Maps for Android brings simplified bottom bar interface

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Google Maps bottom bar

Google Maps is introducing a new interface for the bottom bar on Android to enhance user navigation and interaction. The new interface aims to make the app more user-friendly by combining related features into one place.

The refreshed bottom bar in Google Maps for Android has been reduced to three primary tabs – Explore, You, and Contribute. This is a change from the previous layout, which included five tabs.

While the Explore and Contribute tabs have been retained with their original functions, the You tab has been expanded. It now includes the capabilities that were once found in the Go, Saved, and Updates tabs.

The You tab keeps the bookmark icon and overall layout. The search bar has been removed from the top of the screen, and users can now find Notifications and Messages in the upper-right corner. The bottom bar will show alerts when necessary.

Despite changes in design, Google Maps has not adopted the tall Material You bottom bar or Dynamic Color. However, it plans to add a new image carousel feature, similar to Google Photos. The update also introduces new pin colors to help users find places more easily on the map.

Google is rolling out the new interface with Google Maps version 11.127.x. To experience the new changes and features, make sure to update the app to the latest version.

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Google introduces revamped volume menu with Android 15 Beta 2

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Android 15 Volume Menu

Google has updated the volume menu in the Android 15 Beta 2 update, offering users a new look and features. This is the first significant redesign since the concept of the overflow menu was introduced in Android 10. The new design was first spotted in April and has been slightly modified since then to add new shortcuts.

Android 15 changes the volume menu widely that appears after tapping the overflow button, not the initial slider that shows up when pressing the volume keys. Also, the updated interface now features larger sliders with bold colors, aligning with Google’s Material You design language.

Moreover, it also adds new features including a shortcut for Live Caption and an audio output switcher at the bottom of the menu. Although Android previously allowed users to switch audio outputs through Quick Settings, this redesign provides an alternative that is always accessible.

Users can now add a Cast volume slider when needed. They can also choose to condense the menu with a new button “Media”, and the system will remember this setting for future use. If you have installed the Android 15 Beta 2 update on your Pixel device, enjoy the new look of your smartphone’s volume menu.

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