Removed Google’s Android feature for March Messages, Photos and Parking updates
Google on Thursday announced a major Android feature drop that will improve several experiences on the operating system without requiring a full Android update. Feature removal consists of several significant upgrades to apps and/or features already available on your device. Therefore, they can be activated on all kinds of Android devices through app updates rather than a full OS release.
The Messages app, which gets some useful new tricks, including a better way to handle iMessage reactions, is the main focus of the March Android feature drop. But the Android team has also been working on a few other cool updates, like letting you blur any photo on any device, pay for parking with Google Assistant, and use Live Transcribe offline.
What is Android feature removal?
This isn’t Google’s first Android feature. You may have seen similar releases before as part of a Pixel feature removal announcement. As the name suggests, feature removal represents the official addition of completely new features to Android and/or Pixel. These features weren’t announced at a previous event, like Google I/O. And they don’t require a big Android 12 upgrade that could take months to reach your device.
As I said before, these are features that will be rolled out to separate Android apps across multiple devices. They will be available through app updates rather than OS updates. This means that Google controls the version, rather than having to wait for vendors and carriers to test new versions of the operating system.
However, while Google has provided plenty of details about the March 2022 Android feature removal, we have no idea when they will be released. This is something that Google did not specify in the ad.
That said, we’ll go over the main Android features that Google will add to your phone in the near future.
Google Messages works well with iPhone
Messages is the closest Google has ever gotten to replicating iMessage, but it’s still not quite iMessage. Google plans to get as close as possible, and removing Android features will bring in a few features to help out. One of them is getting reactions from iPhone users. We knew the feature was in the works and you will finally be able to use it. These reactions will appear as emojis.
The Messages app will also automatically sort your messages to separate personal and work messages in apps. Plus, you’ll receive “little nudges” to reply to messages you’ve ignored and reminders for birthdays.
The Gboard keyboard is an integral part of the messaging experience, whether in Messages or other apps. And Gboard gets grammar-checking features, which should catch grammatical errors, not just correct your spelling.
Additionally, the keyboard app will support more than 2,000 “emoji mashups,” Google says. Pixel users get an extra feature here, with Gboard converting words into colorful stickers.
Live Transcribe is the brilliant Google app that offers real-time text-to-speech captions on smartphones. The new Android feature removal will give the app new powers, as Live Transcribe will not work offline. The app comes preloaded on Pixel and Samsung phones, but you can install it on other Android devices.
The Photos feature
Google is also set to improve the Photos experience on Android phones through the March 2022 feature removal. For starters, Google announced that videos you send as Google Photos links will play in the same resolution as the original. The same will soon happen with photos.
Elsewhere, Google will let you add portrait blur effects to any photo and turn it into a portrait. Even photos that were taken on devices that don’t have portrait mode or the camera technology that makes it all possible.
Portrait Blur is available in Google Photos for Google One users and Pixel owners. But the new Android feature will make it available on any Android device, right in the Photos app.
Finally, the Nearby Sharing feature that lets you share content with others around you is getting an update. Nearby sharing lets you move photos, videos, documents, links, audio files, and entire folders between devices. You will now be able to share with multiple people, as long as you have a device running at least Android 6.
Assisted parking and other new Android features
You can already use Google Maps to pay for parking. But Google is set to deliver even better parking functionality via the Android feature drop. Google Assistant now manages parking payments for you.
All you have to do is say “Hey Google, pay for parking” after parking your car. The wizard will take care of everything for you. Commands such as “Hey Google, parking status” and “Hey Google, extend parking” will also be available.
The March 2022 feature removal will also improve the Google TV experience by adding a personalized feed of entertainment news, reviews, and additional content based on your movie and TV interests. You will find the feature in the Highlights tab.
Finally, the new Screen Time widget will tell you exactly how much time you spend on your Android device and what you do on your phone or tablet.
Again, the new Android features should be available on more devices once Google starts updating the apps above. Be on the lookout for updates and check out Google’s full announcement at this link.