Google has been working on Smart Forwarding for dual-SIM phones for a few years now. Back in 2019, XDA found reference to the feature, which would automatically forward phone calls coming into one of your SIMs to the other, if the original SIM didn't have service. Now it seems like Google will finally be moving forward with this on Android 12 for Pixel phones.
When Apple announced that it was bringing widgets to iOS, it was hard not to be a little bit jealous as an Android user. Yes, we've had widgets since the beginning, but they've been so badly neglected for so long that most of them look awful — even Google's own — and there's no consistency in the way work. iPhone widgets are much more rigid and they look a lot better for it. Thankfully, Google is finally giving widgets the attention they've long needed.
Android 12 is looking quite different from its predecessors, but the OS also has a few new tricks under the hood — particularly in the privacy department. The new Android version gives you clear indicators when an app is using your camera or your microphone in the top right corner of your display, so you're never caught off guard (many other manufacturers already include this in their custom Android software). But what if you want to be extra sure that no app can see or hear you? Google added two dedicated toggles for that, and they will go live on Android 12 Beta 2.
It's no secret that 2021 was a huge year for Chromebooks. Google's web-first operating system grew by leaps and bounds as people looked for ways to stay connected during quarantine. What's new in 2021? Well, lots of Chromebook hardware, for one.
Every Google I/O, we get to see some impossibly cool shit from Google that, it frequently turns out, actually was impossible (at least in the practical, scalable sense of the word "possible"). That's not to say the company intends to mislead — far from it. I/O is a playground for the incredibly ambitious and often financially untenable experiments from a company that has more money than it is reasonable for a normal person to comprehend in anything but a purely mathematical and utterly abstract sense. The kind of money that could feasibly send not just one, but an entire colony of chimpanzees to space — each in separate rockets — dressed in adorable gold lamé suits with matching limited edition Rolexes and not incur a quarterly balance sheet impact worse than a particularly nasty EU regulatory fine.
Google I/O is a busy time—announcements flying left and right, blog posts going up, and more Google talking heads than you can shake a stick at. It can be hard to keep up when you've got your own life to live, so Google was good enough to distill all the important day one announcements into a single 9-minute video.
While Google I/O gets a lot of attention for Android, Chrome, and Search, Google hasn't rested on its laurels for one of its most successful products: Maps. According to the I/O keynote presentation, over 100 improvements to the system are currently in the works, many of which are relying on new AI developments.
Google is planning a radical design change with Material You. But it won't stop at the visual interface. According to announcements at the Google I/O developer conference, Android 12 will repurpose the power button in a way that's familiar to users of other devices. Long-pressing the power button will activate Google Assistant's voice control, at least by default.
Google Drive has always had some problems with spammers — no wonder, since there's no way to stop strangers with your email address from sharing files and folders with you in Drive. Google acknowledged the problem and promised that it would work on a solution all the way back in 2019, but has been radio-silent since then — though we assume there was some work in the background, as we've seen much fewer reports in recent times. But now the company is adding a user-facing solution to help against spam, phishing, and otherwise unwanted files: a blocking option.
Google I/O day one is just about a wrap, and with it came an absolute tsunami of news. Android is getting its biggest design overhaul in half a decade. Wear OS is being completely pivoted — and merging with Samsung Tizen?! Android Automotive is headed to more cars, and as usual, Google announced a smorgasbord of app updates and changes to apps you use every day. We've got all the big news here, and there's a lot of it, so let's buckle down and get through this stuff!