Android Police

Chandraveer Mathur-News writer

Chandraveer Mathur

News writer

About Chandraveer Mathur

Chandraveer is a mechanical design engineer with a passion for all things Android including devices, launchers, theming, apps, and photography. When he isn't typing away on his mechanical keyboard’s heavy linear switches, he enjoys discovering new music, improving his keyboard, and rowing through his hatchback’s gears on twisty roads. 

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Google Lens could soon listen for audio prompts

You won’t need to type in queries for Multisearch

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Search is Google’s primary business, and the company recently admitted Chrome exists with the sole purpose of making Search accessible. Tools like Google Lens and Assistant are in the same boat, serving as vehicles to enhance Search. However, one distinctly focuses on visual cues while the other listens for queries and commands. Now, it appears Google is testing audio prompts for Lens, especially to refine queries like you would with Multisearch.

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WhatsApp’s integrated AI chatbot inches closer to release

Beta testing has expanded through the Google Play Store

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AI has been making waves in almost every perceivable application on Android, and other operating systems too. Microsoft offers Copilot on Windows, while Google's Bard chatbot and Search Labs experiments are gaining traction with testers. Meanwhile, Meta is also bringing an AI assistant to its properties, including Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp. The new AI chatbot is now rolling out on a large scale on WhatsApp.

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Google Pixel phones are some of the best phones you can buy if you need great cameras and the joy of the company’s stock Android experience. Google's Pixel Buds Pro are part of the same product range, delivering spectacular sound quality, no matter what you like listening to. They are some of our favorite wireless earbuds we can recommend without second thoughts, but the typical $200 price tag makes them rather expensive for many buyers.

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Google wants you to improve its lackluster Search results by leaving Notes

The experimental feature could be just what Search needed

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Google Search is the world’s go-to destination for any question which needs an answer. However, users may sometimes feel like they are at the mercy of the Search algorithms, which determine which result would be the most useful. You could say the same about the Discover feed, which is tailored to your interests, but is still largely algorithm-driven. Google is killing two birds with one stone in its latest Search Labs experiment which allows appending notes to Search results and Discover feed content.

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Google Photos makes image editing a one-tap affair

You can now find editing presets in the photo details sheet

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Google Photos is the default gallery app on stock Android, and it packs several features to help manage and edit your memories. Recently, Google has been giving the Photos app plenty of attention in the form of new features such as auto-archiving for documents and photo stacks which help manage your shots better. Now, it is making one-tap edits much more accessible in the Android app.

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Google Drive is at the center of your Android phone’s usage, at least until you actively decide to use an alternative for cloud storage. Drive serves as the repository for your Workspace documents, Photos backups, and even WhatsApp backups. However, Google didn’t really mind the latter, and WhatsApp backups don’t count against your storage limit. However, the impact of such policies becomes evident at the scale of WhatsApp and Drive’s operations. Unfortunately, it looks like you will have to pay for additional storage if you want to back up more WhatsApp data to Drive from December.

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WhatsApp announces Discord-style voice chat rooms within group chats

Now you can enjoy freedom from the limitations of group voice calls

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WhatsApp is one of the top instant messaging apps on the Play Store. Recently, it started taking group interactions rather seriously, as evident from new features like Communities and Channels for broadcast messaging. However, the good old group chats aren’t without their flaws. WhatsApp is finally fixing one of the lingering issues, giving us the ability to start voice calls without disturbing every single member of the group.

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Google has spent the better part of 2023 giving Workspace products like Slides, Sheets, and Docs a healthy dose of AI-powered features. Now, the company has shifted its attention to Drive, another critical component at the center of its Workspace products. We recently reported about Google adding a new option to filter files by the mentioned collaborator using a new People drop-down. This addition to the UI is just one of the many changes Google had in store, because a new UI for the mobile app is rolling out now.

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Google Photos could spell the end of your procrastination with a new reminder button

Set a reminder for that bill payment right when you snap its photo

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Google’s Pixel phones are regarded as some of the best camera phones you can buy. As a result, we frequent the Google Photos app to check shots, perform edits, and organize images. Most of the app updates also focus on features which help you edit images or organize them suitably. In a slightly odd change of pace, Google Photos now seems to be developing a productivity feature which will help set reminders directly from within the app.

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Google Drive now lets you filter files by collaborator

A key element of the app’s upcoming advanced search filters

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Every document, spreadsheet, and presentation you create using the Google Workspace utilities is saved to cloud storage on Drive, by default. This gives you the freedom to share current copies of any file with co-workers, family members, and anyone else who needs access. Drive is right up there among the best cloud storage apps, but restricting access and finding documents can be challenging in some cases, especially if you aren’t sure what the filename was.

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Google Keep's new text formatting is a nightmare for lists

Some features don’t work very well when formatting is applied

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Google has a laundry list of apps to maintain, but it seems to do a good job keeping all of them up to speed with the competition and its own Material Design guidelines for Android. Google Keep recently received its share of attention from the company’s developers, with text formatting options finally finding their way to the app in a recent update. In theory, they should help split lists into defined segments, helping you emphasize certain elements. I use Keep to maintain a shopping list and was sorely disappointed to find out that this is far from the case.

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Google Wallet is simplifying clocking in at work

You can finally leave the goofy lanyard at home

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Google Wallet is evolving into a convenient replacement for your actual wallet, transforming your smartphone into a receptacle for digital IDs, currency, bank cards, tickets, and other passes. The app’s developers have been on a streak, with new features or news of their expanding availability streaming in regularly. Now, the company is integrating support for workplace ID cards, helping Google Wallet become one of the best digital wallet apps you could count on.

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Gmail for Android starts showing new quick reply UI

Drawing inspiration from the Telegrams of the world

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Gmail is at the center of all Google Workspace utilities, and Google is always striving to make the service better. Sometimes, that means merging services with similar or overlapping functions like we saw when Google Meet and Duo were fused together. Google also integrated Chat within Gmail, but now, we are seeing a rather Chat-like UI make its way to regular emails in the Gmail app on Android.

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Google could soon enable remote app removal through the Play Store

Manage apps on all your connected devices from one smartphone

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Android’s versatility extends far beyond smartphones, powering the best Google TVs, vehicles, and wrist-worn wearables. The operating system is open to developers, and allows you to build and install apps from any source. However, Google’s Play Store offers a few advantages, including support for remote app installation on any of your connected devices. Now, the facility could extend to remote app removal as well.

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AI seeps into the YouTube comments with Google's latest experiment

Google is also adding a Bard-like chatbot to the platform

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Ever since ChatGPT’s generative AI capabilities captivated people around the world, big tech companies have been clawing at every opportunity to enhance their current offerings with AI. Google is hard at work as well, with AI creeping into Workspace utilities just as much as they are in YouTube’s experimental features. The video-streaming platform’s latest experiment dabbles with comment section summarization and a conversational chatbot to cure your indecision.

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Bitwarden passkey support starts rolling out through the browser extension

Still waiting for passkey support on Android with bated breath

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Passwords keep you secure, but they have been around long enough for miscreants to find effective inroads to your online accounts and personal data. Passkeys promise to fix the redundancies of passwords, while making sign-ins much simpler and secure. Unsurprisingly, the best password managers on Android are racing to adopt the new tech, and Bitwarden is one among them. Although passkey support isn’t available on Android just yet, it is rolling out through Bitwarden’s browser extension.

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WhatsApp's linked devices feature still needs a lot of work

Neglect for the user experience in the unrelenting pursuit of new features has to stop

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Some of the best chat apps on Android are well-regarded for their cross-platform sync, allowing you to access your messages from anywhere. Some of the older apps like Telegram offer virtually the same features on the web as your primary device. WhatsApp is the most popular encrypted messaging app and is platform-agnostic too. However, its implementation has several long-standing issues like duplicate missed call alerts on linked devices. That particular problem was recently remedied, at least partially, but Meta still has a lot of work on its plate.

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The latest Gboard update has a hidden scan tool for text around you

Google is beta testing Lens-like functionality for Gboard

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Google’s Gboard is the go-to keyboard app for most of the best Android phones on the market. The app is loaded with features like Emoji Kitchen and accessibility tricks like one-handed mode. The company has also been working on a few AI smarts, like a proofreading utility. After a brief break from making another weird keyboard, it appears the Gboard team is back at work, beta testing a Google Lens-style OCR feature for the keyboard app.

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Chrome 120 is testing a new responsive toolbar for desktop

Introducing the ‘other’ overflow menu beside the overflow menu

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2023 has been a big year for Google Chrome — developers implemented a major visual redesign of several UI elements, added dynamic theming support to the tab bar and new tab page, and made the UI more functional across operating systems. Now, we have spotted Google making another key change to ensure all your on-screen options remain visible, no matter the size of your Chrome window.

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Vote for your favorite apps on the Play Store this year

Pick the winner of the Users’ Choice App and Games awards for 2023

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Every year, game and app developers add several thousand new apps to the Google Play Store. Some of these don’t take off like people hoped, but many others become worthy contenders for Google’s annual awards. However, users like you and me are allowed to vote only in one category — the User’s Choice Award. Voting is now open for this year’s awards, and you have two weeks to cast your votes.

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