Google on Thursday announced seven new features and updates for Android Wear OS phones, tablets and smartwatches. The offerings are meant to help people learn new skills, stay productive on the go and protect their information, according to a blog post from Google.
Updates and features rolling out June 1 for phones and tablets include Reading Practice, which helps new readers improve their vocabulary and comprehension skills using thousands of compatible children’s e-books on Google Play Books. There are also new widgets that bring Google TV, Google Finance, and Google News to the user’s home screen, and fresh emoji combinations in Gboard’s Emoji Kitchen.
These new options come shortly after Google I/O, where the tech giant revealed some of the new features coming to its Android 14 software. Android 14 is available in public beta and will officially arrive later this year.
This feature drop for Android and Wear OS comes just days before Apple’s WWDC event, when it’s expected to show off iOS 17. The update is part of Google’s efforts to keep Android fresh and useful between major OS releases.
New features coming to Wear OS smartwatches include new tiles and watch face shortcuts for Spotify and an option for commuters in Washington, DC and the San Francisco Bay Area to use their watch to ride their SmarTrip and Clipper cards in Google Wallet. (On Thursday, Google announced even more features for Google Wallet.) Additionally, users of Google Keep for Wear OS will be able to add a tile for quick access to a to-do list or selected note.
The tech giant said most people in the U.S. with Google accounts can now try Dark Web reporting on the Google One website and app. It allows users to perform a scan to see if their Gmail address has been exposed on the dark web. Google One subscribers can also scan for more personal information, such as their Social Security number.
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