Google will soon offer an easy way to share files between your own Android devices

More accessibility options are on the way too.


Google has announced a slew of Android updates that should make phones and tablets more useful for many people. One of the more notable changes is for Nearby Share, Google's version of Apple's AirDrop, which should make transferring files between your own Android devices a cinch. After you opt in to the self-share feature, your Android devices will automatically accept files from each other, even if the screen is off. So, you may soon no longer need to email a file from your phone to your tablet or Chromebook. The self-share option should be available in the next few weeks.

It's not clear when you'll be able to check out some of the other freshly announced features, which include more accessibility settings. Android has a feature called sound notifications that's designed to help those in the deaf and hard of hearing community. When the feature is enabled, it can listen for sounds like fire alarms, door knocks and running water, and alert the user to them with a visual notification or vibration on a phone or watch. Soon, users will be able to add custom sounds to their alert library. They'll be able to record audio from appliances and so forth, and receive notifications when their device hears that sound again.

Google TV now has a selection of movies with audio descriptions. You can find these through Google Assistant by saying “Search audio description movies.” Moreover, Google is adding a multi-pinning option to Meet video calls. This will enable users to pin feeds from, for instance, the speaker and a sign language interpreter — or maybe a friend to see their reaction to what's being said a little more clearly.

SharePlay-style options are coming to Meet as well. You'll be able to watch YouTube videos and play games with up to 100 friends and family members simultaneously. Google says this feature is rolling out to Android phones and tablets.

On top of those changes, you can expect updated Drive and Keep widgets, more Emoji Kitchen mashups on Gboard and a way to stuff more emoji into your messages with a tap (or, in other words, "emojify" whatever you're typing). On Wear OS devices, there will be a new Keep tile — with the option to dictate a note or checklist — while Snapchat's Bitmoji is coming to watch faces.