Huawei just announced the Mate 40, but like any other recent phone from the company, it's crippled by the lack of Google apps. It's possible to install these applications and the corresponding services on Huawei and Honor phones, but until now, the process was tedious and involved dozens of steps. The aptly called app Googlefieris looking to change that — it doesn't offer a one-step solution, but it makes the process much more approachable with limited automation and step-by-step guidance.
A while ago, we covered a hidden new look for Google Pay, accessible through the overflow menu in the power button wallet on Pixel phones. It looks like Google is now making that look the new standard interface for Pay, and it's currently rolling out to many people. The new design likely triggered by a server-side update to the Play Services.
Over the weekend, we spotted some reports that Play Services was eating more than its fair share of folks' batteries. I know, there's a continuous low-level static of Play Services-related battery complaints out there, but the volume and severity of reports picked up substantially, and a COVID-19 contact tracing app is allegedly the cause of the problem. Most of those affected appear to be in Ireland, and the Ireland Health Services Executive (HSE) claims a fix is rolling out now, with 70% of Irish Android devices already updated, and full rollout expected in the next few days.
When it comes to earthquakes, early warnings are key and can potentially save lives. Google recognizes that, and has announced that it's working on earthquake alerts sent right to all Android phones in affected areas, starting in California. For other regions, the company is testing and launching a crowdsource-based approach, relying on the accelerometers found in almost any Android phone in the world.
For years, Apple has allowed you to share files seamlessly with friends and across your iOS and macOS devices via AirDrop. While Android used to support something similar with the NFC-based Android Beam, the feature never really saw wide adoption and was removed with the launch of Android 10 last year. But Google has been working on a much more powerful replacement that's more in line with AirDrop: Nearby Share, which only recently showed up in an Android 11 developer video. While we initially thought it would only allow you to exchange files and links with closeby friends, evidence is mounting that sharing with Google Chrome might also be an option.
Android's long-awaited Nearby Sharing may be just about ready. The feature, which allows you to share files between Android devices quickly, easily, and wirelessly, has been compared to Apple's AirDrop, and Google has confirmed to us that a beta test for Nearby Sharing is actively rolling out via the Play Services beta. We've also managed to snag a quick hands-on to show you how it works.
Last year, a new "verification code autofill" setting appeared as part of a Play Services update that promised to plug the SMS-based 2FA gap for apps that use Android's snazzy SMS Retriever API for verification codes. In short, it would be another way to autofill SMS 2FA codes that might be able to work with any app, regardless of developer support. And based on user reports, the feature may be rolling out.
Android used to let you quickly share links and files between devices thanks to Android Beam, but the NFC-handshake-based technology has never seen wide adoption, so Google sunset it with the launch of Android 10. Instead, the company is working on a new, more powerful solution called "Fast Share" or "Nearby Sharing" as part of the Google Play Services. Android app developer Kieron Quinn managed to activate the feature, and it looks unapologetically similar to Apple AirDrop.
If you're already missing Android Beam and the way it allowed you to share links or files from your device to another easily, there's some good news and bad news all rolled up into one item: Google is planning on rolling out a new "Fast Share" protocol through a Play services updates that will allow Android devices to share assets to other devices, primarily using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct connections.
Certain apps are able to automatically input SMS verification codes through Google's SMS Retriever API. If the app doesn't utilize the API, Android Messages is able to detect those codes and let users copy them right from the SMS notification. Now, it appears that Google is about to close the gap by having its own Autofill service pull SMS verification codes all by itself with the latest Google Play services update.