Google Android update

Google has announced many new features for Android, including a new Google Photos widget that lets you pick a friend, loved one, or pet and have their images featured on your home screen.

Starting with the new widget, Google says it’ll help you “Feel closer to your family, friends, and favorite furballs.” It’s called the Google Photos People & Pets widget, and it lets you select a few faces and a frame, and then the widget will put photos of them on the widget, so they’ll always be on your home screen.

Google is also rolling out new Memories in Google Photos based on holidays. Google says, “These Memories appear in your photo grid and feature a curated selection of photos and videos from holidays like New Year’s Eve or Halloween, to important milestones like birthdays and graduations.”

YouTube Music is getting a widget that puts playback controls and recently played tracks right on your Android device’s home screen. There’s also a new Google Play Books widget that puts your books close at hand.

The Family Bell feature is coming to Android, too. This joins Google’s home speakers and smart displays, which will make the feature far more helpful.

Google is also improving Android Auto. Now, you can set Android Auto to launch automatically when you connect your Android phone to your car. There are also new smart reply options coming soon, making it easier to reply to text messages while driving.

Finally, Google is boosting the privacy of app permissions with permissions auto-reset on Android. Now, your device will automatically turn off runtime permissions that allow apps to access data or take actions on your behalf. When you open the app, you can grant it permissions again.

RELATED: How to Manage App Permissions on Android

Profile Photo for Dave LeClair Dave LeClair
Dave LeClair was the News Editor for How-To Geek. He is now a Mobile Analyst for PCMag. Dave started writing about technology more than 10 years ago. He's written articles for publications like MakeUseOf, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and plenty of others. He's also appeared in and edited videos for various YouTube channels around the web.
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