Google can drop its Android 12 mobile operating system anytime now. Ahead of the launch of the Android 11 successor, Google has announced a major update for its Android OS that brings a host of new features including the ability to control smartphones using facial gestures, using your smartphone as a TV remote, and adding photos and videos to a passcode-protected space. Let’s take a brief look at these Android features.

Camera Switches

Google said that it is starting to roll out a new Camera Switches feature within the Android Accessibility Suite that enables users to turn their front-facing camera into a switch, which in turn enables them to navigate their smartphones using facial expressions. This happens using the company’s Project Activate app. Google said that users can use facial gestures and eye movements to activate preset actions like speaking a phrase (like "Wait!"), playing audio (like a laugh) or sending a text message (like "Please come here").

Google also said that in Accessibility, it is bringing handwriting recognition to Lookout, which is an app that uses a phone’s camera to assist people with low vision or blindness get things done faster and easily. In Documents mode, Lookout will now read out both handwritten and printed text for Latin-based languages. Also, in response to Lookout’s growing global audience, the company is Euro and Indian Rupee recognition within Currency mode, with more on the way.

Android TV feature

The next feature that is coming to Android smartphones enables users to control their TVs using their Android phones. Google said that it has built remote-control features directly into users’ Android phones so that they can power on their TVs, navigate through their recommendations or even start up their favourite shows right from their phones. They can use their phone’s keyboard to quickly type complicated passwords, movie names or search terms. This feature will be coming to 14 more countries over the next few weeks.

Manage day-to-day tasks using Reminders from Assistant

Another feature coming to Android is smarter Reminders. Google said that users can now manage all their reminders in one place by saying, “Hey Google, open my reminders" where they will also see helpful suggestions for recurring reminders that they can activate with a tap. Once set, Google will notify users at the perfect moment across their devices, whether they are at home or on the go.

Android Auto

Android Auto will enable users to listen to music, news and podcasts with personalized recommendations from Google Assistant. Users will also be able to play games from GameSnacks while they are parked. For commuters, Android Auto will help them stay on top of important work meetings and messages with new support for their work profile. “Plus, if you’re a dual-SIM Android phone user, you can now choose which SIM card to use when making calls through Android Auto,” Google wrote in a blog post.

As far as the availability is concerned, these Android Auto features will be available soon on Android phones when connected to a compatible car.

Add photos and videos to a passcode-protected space

Google is planning to roll out the Locked Folder in Google Photos feature to Android users. This feature was earlier restricted to Google’s Pixel smartphones and it gives users a passcode-protected space to save photos and videos separately, so they won’t show up as they scroll through Google Photos or any other apps on their devices.

New emojis on Gboard

Google said that it is planning to roll out over 1,500 stickers to Emoji Kitchen on Gboard. These emojis will arrive to Android smartphones in this fall.

Control who shares with you

Google has also improved visibility settings in its Nearby Share feature, which enables users to take full control of who can discover their device and send files. Users can choose between everyone, your contacts, or no one. They can easily change their preference through their phone’s Quick Settings space anytime.

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