What you need to know
- Google has announced a bunch of new features that will make Android and Chrome OS devices work better together with other devices.
- Fast Pair will soon let users quickly connect their Android phones with more devices — including TVs and smart home devices.
- Google will also introduce new features that will make it a lot easier to move content across different devices.
Google is building on its efforts to make it quicker and easier to set up and move content from one device to another. The search giant on January 5 announced a ton of new features that will allow devices "from Android's ecosystem and beyond" to work better together.
Unlock devices with your Wear OS watch
Starting later this year, Wear OS smartwatch users will be able to unlock and access their Chromebook and Android phone or tablet when they are close by. The feature will work similarly to how Android users can use their phone to unlock their Chromebook.
Fast Pair Enhancements
Google's Fast Pair feature, which was rolled out to Android devices in 2017, helps users instantly set up and pair devices. This year, Google plans to further expand Fast Pair's functionality beyond just audio connectivity with headphones, speakers, and wearables. You will soon be able to use Fast Pair to set up and connect TVs and smart home devices as well.
A new update, which will roll out to users in a few weeks, will allow Chromebooks to automatically detect and pair with Fast Pair-enabled headphones in a single click. It will also soon be possible to set up a new Chromebook with your Android phone and access saved information such as your Google login credentials and Wi-Fi password.
In the coming months, you'll also be able to set up your headphones with the best Android TV and Google TV devices. Since Android offers built-in support for Matter, users will be able to easily connect new Matter-enabled smart home devices to their network and Google Home in a few taps with Fast Pair.
Improved multi-device experiences
Google aims to "amplify" audio experiences for users with a new technology for Bluetooth headphones, which will enable them to seamlessly switch the audio to the device that they're listening to. For example, if you're watching a video on your Android tablet and receive a phone call, the headphones will switch to your Android phone and then switch back to the tablet once you're done.
Google is also working on a new Spatial audio feature that will adapt the sound based on head movements. Both these features will roll out to supported headphones in the coming months.
Moving and managing your content across devices is also about to get much easier. Google is bringing Chromecast built-in to additional brands, including all Bose smart speakers and soundbars. The Phone Hub feature on Chromebooks will also gain a bunch of new features later this year.
You'll be able to access chat apps from your phone directly from your Chromebook — even when your phone is out of reach, and the apps aren't installed on your Chromebook. Another new feature that is coming to Phone Hub is Camera Roll, which will let you access your recent photos and videos in just one click.
New experiences for Windows PCs
To enable users to "do more with Android and Windows PCs," Google is working on expanding Fast Pair support to Windows. Users will soon be able to connect their Android phone to their Windows PC with Fast Pair to set up Bluetooth accessories, sync messages, and share media using Nearby Share.
Google is working with Acer, HP, and Intel to bring the feature to select Windows PCs. These new features are expected to roll out to users throughout the year.