Google releases new apps and widgets to help Android users
Android users running their phones will be able to find quite a few new apps and tools designed with productivity and ease of use in mind. In a blog post published on Tuesday, Google described the new features that are now available to some Android devices.
First on the list is an AI-powered tool known as Assistant At a Glance. Available only on Google Pixel 3 and later and on Android 12 or higher, this widget aims to bring useful information directly to your home screen. Take advantage of accurate weather alerts, travel updates, and reminders for upcoming events.
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The new tool will be automatically enabled for Android devices that meet the requirements. To customize or turn off the At a Glance widget, press down on the weather forecast displayed at the top of your home screen, then tap Customize. On the Home Settings screen, tap the gear icon to tap Quick View. You can now choose what kind of information you want to see, such as earthquake alerts, package deliveries, rideshare updates, and fitness scores.
Next is a feature aimed at visually impaired people. Scrolling through images in your library, in a group chat, or on social media can be difficult without knowing what the image is about. To deal with this challenge, an app called Lookout – Assisted Vision attempts to describe the images in detail.
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After installing and launching the app, point your phone’s camera at an object in front of you or open a photo from your photo library. In response, the app will describe the image to you. Moreover, the special Q&A feature allows you to ask follow-up questions to help you know better what is in the picture. Lookout currently supports 34 different languages in which you can hear descriptions.
The third new feature is the import of photos for Google Wallet cards. With this option, you can add cards containing barcodes or QR codes to Google Wallet by taking a picture of them. Download and install Google Wallet if you don’t already have it. Click the “Add to Wallet” button and choose the type of item you wish to add. Select or type the name of the card. Scan the barcode or QR code and press the button to add it. The card is stored digitally and is available for you to use when needed.
For the folks with Android Auto behind the wheel, Zoom and Webex are on their way. With either app, you’ll be able to start and join conference calls (audio only) and check your meeting schedules. With Android Auto, you can mute your microphone when necessary and end the call when it’s time to leave.
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Finally, you can get details about your Fitbit or Google Fit activity and sleep data when you wake up in the morning. To try this out, add the time you went to bed and the number of hours you slept to your good morning routine. Then say, “Hey Google, good morning,” and you’ll hear a summary of your sleep activity.