As you open Google Maps today and try to check what the traffic will be like on your route, you'll probably notice a new highlight tip that points to a fresh and perfect addition for our modern lives: a COVID-19 layer. So whether you're about to travel to a new country or are simply driving to the next county, you can always see how things are looking up.
After years in the making (and breaking), Google confirmed earlier this month (then deleted the tweet) that screen sharing would soon be available to its Duo video calling service. The feature didn't go live immediately, but is now finally making its way to users. The server-side switch gods have deemed my husband's OnePlus 7 Pro worthy of getting it, but my Pixel 4 XL with Android 11 isn't cool enough (no, I'm not bitter). But all you need is for it to be live on one device to do the sharing, so we took it for a spin. Prepare for infinite Ritas — you've been warned.
Google already has an in-car navigation UI in the form of Android Auto, as well as a future replacement in the form of the Assistant Driving Mode, but it seems to be implementing a very similar concept in Google Maps. We've seen music playback controls show up in Maps navigation before, but never the Android Auto-style buttons and home screen.
Google's to-do management strategy has never been its strong suit. Between a pretty basic Tasks app and reminders that have suffered fromcountlessissuesgoing back to 2017, things are sparse and unclear. Calendar has been trying to become the one-stop solution for this disjointed strategy and you can already use it to manage your reminders on web and mobile, as well as create and edit tasks on the web. The last piece of that puzzle is task support on mobile, and that's finally starting to roll out to users now.
Stop me if you think you've heard this one before. You set up a cooking timer on your Nest speaker or display in the kitchen, then go chill in the living room or the bedroom. When the timer rings, it just doesn't stop until you move your ass over to the kitchen and talk to that particular speaker, because yelling "stop" to the other Assistant units littered around your house doesn't do anything. We've complained about this for years, but the problem should finally be far behind us as Google is rolling out timer and alarm control across the entire house.
Haven't you always wished Google Assistant could do more with the apps on your phone? Not just launch them, but open specific sections or perform certain actions inside them? Even though Google has been talking about this kind of functionality for years, the reality is that these features have been limited and if they exist, they're nearly impossible to discover. We had to dig deep to find how the new Assistant on the Pixel 4 and 4a can do more in apps and in Chrome, but still, that's nowhere near what Apple and Samsung have been able to achieve with Siri Shortcuts or Bixby Routines — two features I've been eyeing with jealousy for a while.
Last week, an update to the Google Home app started rolling out with a bunch of new features in tow. Chief among them is the new dark theme, a new security camera feed, and improved controls for Android 11's power menu integration. More changes have popped up now, though these are governed by a server-side switch and are thus slowly appearing for users.
In mid-July, Gboard's Play Store listing added a cryptic changelog that mentioned voice dictation translations. We started looking for signs of that feature and couldn't find any until now, when it finally showed up on the latest Gboard beta v9.7. Google has also confirmed to us that it's rolling it out to everyone.
Google Duo offers a lot of fun effects when you're on a video call, but until now, you could apply them in an ongoing one-on-one call. With the latest app updates, it's possible to pick an effect before the other person responds, as a fun surprise for them. Effects are also live in group video chats.