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The Galaxy S21 is bringing Samsung and Google even closer together

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Samsung announced a partnership with Google to integrate its Nest services with SmartThings.
  • One UI 3.1 on the new Galaxy S21 smartphones comes with Google Discover Feed by default.
  • Both companies worked to improve Android Auto and include SmartThings integration to control smart home devices and routines from your dashboard.

Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event had some great things going for it. The Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphones were of course the star of the show, and the new Galaxy Buds Pro could arguably be some of the best wireless earbuds on the market right now. But one of the most important things to come out of the event wasn't the products, but the presence of Google.

Samsung and Google seem to have had a rocky relationship over the years. As Samsung grew larger and larger, eventually becoming the largest Android manufacturer in the world, it began to grow less and less reliant on Google's services. Sure, Samsung's phones run Android, but its smartwatches are running Tizen as opposed to Wear OS. And picking up a new Galaxy smartphone usually means being met with two versions of essentially the same app by both companies. Heck, Samsung even has its own Galaxy Store for apps.

Admittedly, some of these apps are arguably better than Google's. Samsung Notes works especially great if you have a Galaxy Note 20, and it even syncs with Microsoft OneNote which is really just another blow to Google. Then, on the other hand, some of the apps are just plain redundant. Why have both Google Pay and Samsung Pay on a smartphone, especially now that Google is improving its app while Samsung is removing features from its own?

Samsung QLED Google Duo

Source: Samsung (Image credit: Source: Samsung)

Things seem to be changing though, especially with today's announcement. Samsung spoke about how it's integrating Google Nest products into its SmartThings ecosystem, further confirming what the company announced a month ago.

This means that Samsung Galaxy users will have quick and easy access to their home Nest products. And at home, Samsung is letting you video chat with your friends and family by screen sharing Google Duo from your Galaxy smartphones to your Samsung TV, allowing up to 16 people on a single call.

Samsung also announced car integration via Android Auto, allowing you to control, start, or stop your engine just from your Galaxy phone. Working with Google, Samsung also aided in improving the UI of Android Auto and has even included integration with SmartThings so that connected devices and routines can be controlled from your car dashboard.

Lastly, Google has highlighted how the two companies have partnered on making Google's own services more readily available and accessible on Samsung's devices, such as Google Messages and Discover Feed, the latter of which is coming to the Galaxy S21 based on One UI 3.1. Google's TalkBack feature for visually impaired users is also being improved, with a new version coming exclusively to Galaxy smartphones.

Neither company has detailed when these updates will arrive on Samsung devices, but it's a step in the right direction for two companies that have seemingly been at odds for years.

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.

14 Comments
  • It was strange as someone who has seen a few unpacked events to hear them mention Google half a dozen or more times. It's a good thing. The talkback thing was the strangest.
  • I hope these changes will filter down to the S20.
  • ^^^This!^^^ (stupid three word minimum)
  • In glad that Samsung is working more closely with Google and that the Google discover feed is being integrated into their One UI software which is impressing me.
  • Welcome back Beno, I've missed you! genuinely how's the iPhone going? been a few months now how have you found the move across to IOS? anything you missed or prefer?
  • Hmmm.... as I am looking more and more into getting "google out of my life" world, now this.
  • I was expecting this to happen since google stopped taking pixel seriously. And it makes sense. Aamsung rold google ill let you more integrated in my devices if you stop making flagships💁‍♂️
  • Wait the texting app is Android Messages on Samsung phones now?
  • Going forward it will be the default app. Not sure if its like Samsung Music (which they stopped pre-installing) where you still can download it to use.
  • They should use Google's camera/photo algorithm since theirs is not great.
  • Google need Samsung more that ever! I've always said this, the only high end OEM that directly competes with Apple on all fronts and ecosystem. Saying that and I could be wrong but I think Google pushed Samsung to give up Micro SD so they can push users to cloud storage options.
  • You mean Google PAID Samsung to get rid of the SD card slot just as they're trying to get Samsung to give up the Galaxy store
  • Probably right but to be fair the Galaxy store is garbage so I wouldn't miss it
  • Seems like google is paying samsung alot of money. Especially after their Pixel phones failure