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Google’s December Android Drop Has New Features for Everyone

These new features aren't just for Pixel phones.

images of new Android features

As many Pixel phone owners know, Google occasionally releases “feature drops” with new stuff, but the latest December feature drop has exciting new Android features for every phone. Things like sharing digital car keys with others, Wear OS improvements, a new YouTube search widget, and more.

This isn’t your typical over-the-air software update. Instead, it’s neat new Android features across a slew of apps, products, and services that anyone can enjoy. You’ll notice fun new goodies in Google Photos, new voice commands, a better Google Keep app on Wear OS, a smarter messaging experience with new emoji kitchens, and we’re even getting a new reading mode for accessibility users.

While these updates aren’t usually huge, this December drop has many exciting new additions that’ll make Android more helpful. Here’s some of what’s new:

New YouTube search widget.
  • Tap to watch on Google TV: Cast content directly from the Google TV app to compatible TVs with a single tap.
  • Digital car key: Users can remotely share access to compatible cars with friends and family. Available on Pixel, then iPhone.
  • Wear OS: New tiles for contacts and weather info, new Google Keep Wear OS app, and Adidas Running now works with Google Assistant voice commands for hands-free workouts.
  • YouTube Search widget: Find videos, shorts, subscriptions, or your video library from your home screen.
  • Google Photos: Find fun new artistic and festive collage options in Google Photos.
  • Better Messaging: Keep chats on track by replying to specific messages on the Messages app.
  • Reading Mode: A new and improved reading mode with customizable contrast, text size, text-to-speech, and font types for apps and websites.
  • Emoji Mashups: New seasonal emoji mashups and stickers are available on Gboard.
  • Account Safety Alerts: Google Account profile pictures will show an alert icon if you have an account problem.
  • and more.

As you can see, Google has several noteworthy changes coming to Android users everywhere. Users can instantly take advantage of the improvements to Google TV, the new YouTube widget, try out the improved reading mode, or update the Messages app to enjoy its latest feature.

If you have a vehicle with support for digital car keys, sharing the key with family members or kids to take the car during the busy holidays will be welcomed by many. While some of these features are holiday-focused, like the new emoji and collages in Google Photos, the rest are upgrades everyone can enjoy.

In previous years, these updates were known as “Pixel drops” and were only for Google’s Pixel line of phones. Lately, Google has released these quarterly, like the previous September drop, with upgrades and improvements for the entire Android ecosystem.

So, enjoy some streamlined entertainment changes and helpful smartwatch features, and do more with your phone.

Source: Google Blog

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He's a staff writer for Review Geek covering roundups, EVs, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and InputMag, and he's written over 9,000 articles. Read Full Bio »