Every so often we get a new set of features that make worthwhile additions to Android, which bring some pretty nifty functionality to Google’s flagship mobile OS. As such, Google has recently announced a new set of features which will be available for Android, and add some much-welcome changes to some of its existing services. What’s more, the new features aren’t exclusive for Google Pixel phones, so users with devices from other manufacturers can access these as well.
Additionally, Android’s logo and branding have gotten a bit of a revamp as well, bringing a fresh new look – let’s check it out.
New Android Features
First up is Google’s new Assistant at a Glance Widget, which gives users more accurate weather updates, travel reminders, as well as calendar alerts all thanks to integrated AI. Google has also added a few visual tweaks which are more in line with its “Material You” design language, bringing a bit more uniformity to the feature.
Google has also brought new updates with Image Q&A on Lookout, which makes visual content more accessible thanks to user integrated AI, which will provide image descriptions for users experiencing problems with their eyesight. Additionally, the Lookout app has also added new languages including Japanese, Korean and Chinese, adding accessibility for more users across the globe.
Google’s Wallet app will also be getting a big upgrade, and Android users can soon access Google Wallet Pass’ photo import feature. This lets users digitize their existing passes that have a barcode or a QR code on them, which includes gym or library cards, for example – this can be done by uploading an image of a pass/card to store in the Google Wallet app.
Google also added some enhancements for Android Auto, which gives users access to new communication methods including Webex by Cisco and Zoom. This means that users can join conference calls by audio, and access their meeting schedules all from their vehicle’s display. Additionally, active calls can be managed through Android Auto, which allows users to mute and terminate calls.
For fitness, Google now lets users can keep an eye on their sleep data via personal Routines. This can be accessed by adding one’s sleep times and duration to their device’s Good morning Routine, and then saying “Hey Google, good morning” to hear a summary of their stats.
Alongside these new software features for Android, Google has also announced new changes to its Android logo and mascot, which brings a slightly different look to what we’ve gotten used to over the years. As such, Google has decided to give the Android “Bugdroid” mascot a 3D makeover, and a slight change to its text logo, which now comes with a capital letter “A” instead of the full set of lowercase letters that was featured before. Referring to the change in text, Google states:
“…In addition to moving away from our longstanding lowercase stylization of “android,” we’re elevating the Android logo by capitalizing the “A,” adding more weight to its appearance when placed next to Google’s logo. While we’ve added more curves and personality unique to Android, the new Android stylization more closely mirrors Google’s logo and creates balance between the two.“
While the Android mascot has more or less kept a mostly 2D-stylized appearance throughout the years, this new update in branding now gives it a three-dimensional appearance, which Google states was done to give it a more “dynamic” appearance. According to the official announcement:
“The bugdroid — the face and most identifiable element of the Android robot — now appears with more dimension, and a lot more character. As a visual signifier of our brand, we wanted the bugdroid to appear as dynamic as Android itself. We’ve also updated the robot’s full-body appearance to ensure it can easily transition between digital and real-life environments, making it a versatile and reliable companion across channels, platforms and contexts.”
Google adds that Android users can expect the updated logo and 3D bugdroid mascot to appear on Android devices and in more places starting this year.