Google Unveils Nine New Features for Android Devices Including Gemini Chatbot

On the first day of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2024, Google introduced a suite of nine new features for Android devices, showcasing a blend of generative artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities aimed at enhancing user productivity.

Gemini Chatbot Integration in Messages App

The standout feature is the integration of Gemini, Google’s latest AI-powered chatbot, into the Messages app. Currently in beta testing, Gemini allows users to engage in conversations, ask queries, and even draft or rewrite messages within a separate chat box. This feature expands Gemini’s presence, making it available as a standalone app, a virtual assistant, and now within the Messages app.

Generative AI Enhancements for Android Auto

Android Auto receives a similar AI upgrade, enabling generative AI to summarize lengthy texts or group chats and read them aloud for users while driving. The feature also suggests relevant replies and actions, streamlining interaction with messages on the go.

AI-Driven Improvements for Accessibility

The Lookout app, designed for visually impaired users, now features an AI-driven enhancement. It automatically generates captions for images encountered online or received through messages, providing users with spoken descriptions. This accessibility feature is rolling out globally in English.

Google Maps Gets Lens Update

Google Maps introduces an update to Lens, originally added in October 2023. Users can now use their phone’s camera to capture surroundings, and the TalkBack feature will read out loud relevant information about the place, including business hours, ratings, or directions.

Non-AI Features Debut

Among the non-AI features is the handwritten annotation capability for Google Docs on Android. Users can now write and draw with fingers or a stylus directly on documents, creating personalized notes. Another addition is a modification to the output switcher for Spotify, allowing users to select the device for sound output directly from the home screen.

Wear OS-Based Updates

Google rolls out an update to the Health Connect app for Wear OS, enabling integration with wearables like Fitbit and apps such as AllTrails and MyFitnessPal. This update offers users a detailed view of health and fitness data, providing actionable insights.

In addition, Google Wallet passes are now accessible on Wear OS smartwatches, offering a convenient way for users to access their passes directly. Google Maps for Wear OS introduces public transit directions, including departure times, compass-guided navigation, and the option to mirror directions from the phone to the smartwatch.

Google’s latest feature rollout demonstrates its commitment to enhancing user experiences on Android devices, leveraging both generative AI and practical non-AI functionalities across various applications and platforms.

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