As expected, we saw the official reveal of Android 13 at Google I/O 2022 this week, and surprisingly, quite a few hardware announcements, too. Because it was such a jam-packed event, though, Google brushed by many of the more minor features and updates that are coming our way over the next year. You shouldn’t focus only on the Pixel 6a or the next big Android update — these 10 smaller announcements you probably missed are just as fun.
Material You gets adaptive icon packs in Android 13
Android 13 is a small, incremental update, but one thing that should grab your attention is the new adaptive icon packs feature. Material You was everywhere in Android 12 — except for the icons. If you liked customising your icons with different icon packs, you were left out of the colour-matching action.
Now, when you change the theme or the wallpaper, the icon backgrounds will match with your theme automatically.
Your Google Meet calls will look better thanks to AI
When you have a crappy laptop camera, the only thing you can do to improve your video call is to sit near a window. If you can’t afford a new webcam, Google Meet might have an answer for you. Meet will now use a new AI feature to enhance the video feed on the fly. This will make your video brighter, and clearer.
Multisearch becomes more useful
Over the last couple of months, Google released a new multisearch feature in Google Search. This option lets you add more context and zero in on something you’re looking for. Now, you’ll be able to add text to an image search, and get more contextual results instantly. For example, you can search for a picture of a local restaurant, or a clothing store, and add the phrase “near me” to see what’s available in your area.
There’s an easy way to remove your personal information from Google
If your personal information, like your phone number, email address, or home address, has made its way into Google Search, you can ask Google to remove it for you. This now works using a simple, straight-forward tool. In the Google app, you can tap the Menu button next to search results to find the option to remove the result.
Nest Hub Max will answer queries without the hotword
If you want to use Google Assistant on a Nest device, you have to use the “Hey Google” hotword (also known as a wake word). But Google is introducing a new Look & Talk feature for Next Hub Max where users can talk to Google Assistant simply by looking at the device. As long as you’re looking at the screen, you don’t need to use the hotword. This feature is opt-in.
Google’s AR search works in live camera view
Google is also rolling out a feature called Scene Exploration in Google Lens. This feature will let users see contextual information and search results right in the live camera view.
Google highlighted a real-life use case for this new feature. Let’s say you’re out shopping for a nut-free, dark chocolate bar in the grocery store and you see a huge line of options. Enter this search in Google Lens, point your camera at the shelf, and let the app do its thing. Now, even as you move around, you’ll find the contextual results, ratings, and selections in the camera view, anchored to the product. It’s rather cool.
More diverse skin tone options in Image search
Google has introduced a new ten-scale skin tone system for image search. This update will help users filter results that are more accurate and suitable for their needs. For example, people of colour will find it easier to search through makeup tutorials, and relatable images.
Google is also launching Real Tone filters in Google Photos that edit photos based on this new ten-scale system, resulting in more realistic editing.
Chrome gets built-in virtual cards support
Google is bringing back Google Wallet, and this is a nice side effect. If you have a credit card saved in Chrome or Google Wallet, Chrome will now automatically fill in a virtual card for added security. This way, if the credit card details are hacked, or leaked, you won’t lose access to your real credit card.
Starting this summer, American Express, Visa, Mastercard, and Capital One cardholders in the U.S. will get access to this feature.
Android Auto gets a modern, adaptable UI for larger screens
Android Auto’s interface is quite dated, and Google is finally updating it to make it look similar to CarPlay: You get a three-pane view with live maps, music playback, and contacts widgets. Plus, Android Auto is now designed to fit in varied screen dimensions, so it will feel at home on a square display, a tall display, or a wide one.
Google Maps gets an immersive view
Here’s another feature straight from Apple Maps, but we don’t mind: Google is building on top of Street View and it’s introducing the Immersive View feature for select cities in the world. This is like a satellite view, but in 3D, with photorealistic details of all major attractions in a city. The feature will roll out for Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Tokyo, and London by the end of 2022.