February 24, 2021

Google has announced it is bringing out five new features, ranging from security to accessibility, over the next few months. The good news is, these aren't linked to the Android 12 release, so you won't be kept waiting! 

Some of the new features are becoming available now, and there is something to help everyone make their phone use more efficient and safe. These new features are not coming out in your normal Android update all in one place, but rather as part of separate app updates and individual Android updates. So, you may get some before you have access to others! 


1. Google's Password Checkup

Google is taking steps to ensure your private data is kept secure and keep you in the know about any potential problems with any of your password data. Their new Password Checkup feature, available on Android, acts similarly to the feature on Chrome that alerts you if one of your passwords has been exposed as part of a data breach. Along with this, it will also check any new passwords you are creating against commonly used patterns and combinations and advise you if you should think about using a different password to increase your security levels. 

This feature will be coming to all phones running Android 9 or above (which is the majority of devices). 


2. Message Scheduling

Google is helping us to increase our productivity through adding in the ability to type up and create a message and schedule to send it at a later time. This is perfect if you need to send messages at inconvenient times or someone who requires sending out regular messages via Google Messages to clients, colleagues or just friends and family! This feature is especially helpful to those who message across timezones frequently and don't want to disturb those who may be sleeping on the other side of the world! Scheduling a reply allows you to get your message sent but for it to arrive at a respectful time for those in another country so you don't ever have to be in the position of awkwardly forgetting to reply. 

This feature is available on the latest Google Messages update which you will need to download through the Google Play Store.


3. Talkback Update

Google is advancing its accessibility features through updating its Talkback feature. Talkback is a feature designed for the visually impaired which allows usage of the phone through voice promptings. The new version of Talkback is designed to give the user a complete and full phone experience without having to see the screen. Google have switched Talkback back to a single menu navigation to increase simplicity as well as adding 12 new multi-finger gestures to interact with apps and perform different common functions. 

Talkback can be downloaded or updated on the Google Play Store.


4. Google Maps Dark Theme 

Google are introducing toggle in Google Maps that allows users to easily switch between Light Theme and Dark Theme when desired. Already, Google Maps was linked to the overall Light and Dark theme modes that you can switch your Android phone between. However, now you can select to control Maps individually so that if you wish to have the app in the opposite mode to your phone, you can. This new toggle is helpful for those who especially drive significant amounts at night and still want the bright Light Theme in maps but want to keep the rest of their phone dark.

This feature is available on the latest version of Google Maps that can be downloaded through the Google Play Store.


5. Android Auto Update

Android Auto is a feature designed by Google to make your car ride more enjoyable. Now, your car rides can be even more entertaining with Google introducing the ability to ask to play games, such as Jeopardy, through voice commands. Google has also added new shortcuts to the Android Auto lock screen. There is now the ability to perform tasks via shortcuts such as call contacts or adjust the thermostat. There is also an interface update for those cars with larger screens which will now allow Maps and media controls to be shown simultaneously side by side. 

These features are available to all phones with Android Auto (available on Android 6 and newer).



Here at DeXTech, we are here to help you with your technology requirements. We stock a wide range of Apple products, from the iPhone 4s all the way through to the iPhone XS, plus the iPad range. Along with this, we carry a huge range of Android smartphones and tablets, including Samsung, Pixel and LG. With these devices on hand we are able to offer technical support every step of the way from assisting to get your device setup to dealing with issues such as network issues or software troubleshooting. We have a helpful team who can lend a hand via our tech support email address: support@dextech.co.nz. Do not hesitate to reach out!

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