Google’s Android 13 coming later this year with Wallet app, improved security

At its annual I/O conference on Tuesday, Google (GOOG, GOOGL) teased a host of new features coming to Android 13. The company teased a slew of new features and improvements coming to the second Android beta. Android 13, including a new wallet app that will let you download a digital version of your driver’s license, and better integration with Google’s product and app portfolio.

The software carries over to the same design aesthetic, called Material You, that debuted last year with Android 12.

This time, however, the company says you’ll be able to further customize the look of the operating system by not only changing the entire color palette of Google-specific settings, home screen, and apps, but also the third party participant icons. party apps too.

The media player also gets a sleek upgrade, displaying album artwork, in addition to the playbar that bounces to the beat of your music.

The new Google Wallet app will act as a kind of main hub for all your digital cards and tickets, whether it’s your credit card, your vaccine ID card, your plane ticket or even your your driver’s license.

Google showed off a host of improvements to its upcoming Android 13 operating system at its annual Google I/O conference. (Picture: Google)

Google already has a Google Pay app, and you’ll always use it to make payments with friends. However, Google Wallet will be where you store your cards and make payments at stores that accept Google Pay.

The addition of driver’s licenses is a big step for Google and follows Apple’s (AAPL) own efforts to add digital IDs to its Apple Wallet app. Not all states accept digital IDs yet, and it will likely be a while before they all do.

Google also gave us a better look at its RCS, or Rich Communication Services, saying it will provide end-to-end encryption for group chats. RCS will work on a wide range of Android phones and serve as a more secure and feature-rich successor to standard SMS and MMS technology. Apple, meanwhile, has had many of the same features offered by RCS in its own iMessage technology for years.

Then there are the security updates coming to Android 13.

Google says you’ll be able to choose whether you want apps to access your photos and videos, or audio and music, instead of all your media at once. You’ll also be able to choose whether you want apps to have access to individual photos rather than your entire picture library.

The new Google Wallet app will allow you to store your payment cards as well as state driver's licenses.  (Picture: Google)

The new Google Wallet app will allow you to store your payment cards as well as state driver’s licenses. (Picture: Google)

Additionally, Google says apps will now need your permission before they start pushing notifications, so you won’t have to worry about your apps flooding you with notifications at the worst possible time.

There’s also news that Google will make all of its hardware work more efficiently together. We’re talking about accessing your Messages app from your Pixel device on your Chromebook without needing a separate app. That, in addition to easy device pairing for things like smart TVs and headphones, and the ability to stream to your car’s screen, while it’s parked or charging of course.

Android 13 is expected to arrive on smartphones later this year.

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