Every year at the Google I/O developer conference, we tend to focus on the hardware that Google offers, like the Pixel 6a this year. However, there are actually quite a few new features announced for Android, a number of which aim to make your multi-device life much easier to navigate.
Perhaps the best way to tidy up your many devices is at the start, when you’ve just unpacked it. As Liza Ma, Group Product Manager at Google explains, one of the biggest pet peeves of living with multiple devices is the need to set everything up. This is where Google’s Fast Pair feature comes in. It’s been around for a while now, with Fast Pair-enabled devices like wireless headphones and smartphones able to pair quickly and seamlessly.
However, Ma says they’ll take it a step further by launching Matter, a new open industry standard that Google will launch later this year. Matter enables Google Nest hardware to easily connect to IoT hardware such as lights, smart plugs and more. Simply scan a Matter QR code on a Matter-enabled product using your smartphone to set it up with your home network of smart devices. It’s a bold plan, but it remains to be seen if other manufacturers will adopt Matter.
That’s not the only way Google wants to improve Android when using multiple devices. You’ll soon be able to copy something to your smartphone and then paste it onto another device like a tablet. The Google I/O demo shows the user copying something to the smartphone, then shrinking it to a corner and using Nearby Share, a tablet then picks it up and sticks it there. Ma says it will work with anything from a URL link to an image or even a screenshot.
Additionally, Google also plans to expand its streaming capabilities to a number of other hardware partners, such as Sony, Phillips, TCL, and more. By giving more and more devices around you the ability to pair and sync with each other this way, you can move your media to the display or speaker that’s best for you. . These streaming capabilities are to extend to TVs, Chromebooks, tablets, smartphones, speakers and more.
Finally, Google will expand Phone Hub so you can directly access all of your smartphone’s messaging apps through your Chromebook laptop. It works by streaming the email app you use to your laptop, rather than requiring you to download the various third-party desktop apps to your Chromebook. This feature is also expected to roll out after September this year.
If you want to learn more about Google at their Google I/O conference, you can watch the full Google Keynote on Youtube. And if you’re a McLaren F1 fan, you’ll definitely want to see Ma’s full speech during the keynote as Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo also make appearances.