Mon. Sep 25th, 2023

Google just revealed the latest Android Feature Drop. While it isn’t as robust as the upcoming Android 14 update, it contains plenty of useful new features, including an upgraded Assistant At a Glance widget for non-Pixel users. These improvements should arrive on your Android phone within the coming weeks or months, depending on how quickly your smartphone’s manufacturer delivers firmware updates.

The highlight of this Android Feature Drop is an improved Assistant At a Glance widget. As you may know, At a Glance is one of the exclusive features offered on Google’s Pixel smartphones—the Assistant At a Glance widget provides similar functionality for other Android brands. While Assistant at a Glance still lacks some features (and can’t be pinned to your lock screen), it now sports a Material You redesign and utilizes AI to deliver more relevant information.

This Assistant At a Glance redesign was first discovered in July by 9to5Google‘s APK insight team. It places information within a pill-shaped container, which should improve legibility for users with messy, colorful, or bright wallpapers (previously, Assistant At a Glance did not use a container). As for the AI improvements, Google hasn’t specified exactly what’s changed, though it notes that you should see more relevant weather alerts, travel details, and event reminders (presumably, the AI will use things like your location data and habits to determine when new information is relevant).

Additionally, Google is upgrading Lookout, an image description and label-reading tool for blind or visually impaired users. Lookout now uses an enhanced AI to produce more detailed image descriptions, and users can now ask follow-up questions (using voice or text input) when they aren’t satisfied with Lookout’s first attempt at describing something. The Lookout tool is also gaining support for 11 more languages, including Korean, Japanese, and Chinese.

Other improvements include Webex conference call support for Android Auto, sleep and activity data in Google Assistant’s Good Morning Routine, and Google Wallet Photo Pass Import, which allows you to add anything with a QR code or barcode (such as a gym membership, laundry room pass, etc) to your Wallet.

These new and updated features should arrive on your Android device within the coming weeks or months. Again, it depends on how often your phone’s manufacturer sends out firmware updates. Note that these Android Feature Drop improvements require Android 13, though they will also be included in the upcoming Android 14 release and all subsequent Android versions.

Source: Google

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By John P.

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