While there is, naturally, a lot of overlap between Google and Android, there have always been some compatibility issues for those who use non-Google devices. But Google announced it is working to bridge those gaps, making Android devices work together better regardless of the brand.
The latest update from Google comes from CES, and while the changes aren’t groundbreaking, they offer some nice productivity and convenience improvements for Android users. Perhaps the most significant is the update to sharing.
Previously, sharing files between Android devices wasn’t straightforward if they weren’t the same brand. Google rolled out Nearby Share in 2020, while Samsung uses its own method dubbed Quick Share. However, Google and Samsung have teamed up to bring “the best of our sharing solutions together into a singular cross-Android solution under the Quick Share name,” says Google. The Quick Share feature will roll out to Nearby Share devices next month.
Quick Share will be the default peer-to-peer sharing option on all Android and Chromebook ecosystems. Additionally, Google explained that they are working with leading PC companies such as LG to offer the Quick Share feature as a pre-installed app on Windows PCs. The update means sharing files with other Android or Windows users will be much easier, even if they use a different device brand. It should also allow you to share files between a Windows PC and mobile device quickly. That’s a big convenience win for photographers and content creators.
Another convenience win is better Bluetooth pairing support. Google’s Fast Pair allows users to pair and use Bluetooth devices quickly with their Android phone or Chromebook. In the next month, Google is expanding the Fast Pair feature to Chromecast with Google TV. Google will also extend it to more Google TV devices later this year.
More changes are coming to Chromecast as well. Google is adding casting capabilities to more apps and devices. That includes the ability to cast TikTok content from a phone to Chromecast-compatible devices. Plus, Google says that users will soon be able to cast live videos from TikTok to enjoy those viral videos as a group around a larger screen.
More devices with Chromecast built-in are on the way. That includes the 2024 LG TV series and new Google TV devices such as the 2024 Hisense ULED and ULED X Series, and the TCL Q Class and TCL QM7 line announced at CES. The company is also expanding Chromecast built-in to LG Hospitality and Healthcare, making it more convenient to stream shows when traveling for shoots.
For music lovers, the latest update will allow users to easily move Spotify or YouTube Music stream from a Pixel Phone to a docked Pixel Table when the devices are close by. In terms of products for the home, Google is working to make more homes Matter-ready. Moving forward, LG TVs, select Google TVs, and other Android TV OS devices will be able to act as hubs for Google Home. This improvement will make it easier to control Matter devices with the Google Home app.
Finally, Google is improving its apps and services for cars. That includes electric-vehicle-specific features. The Ford Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning will be the first to see these updates, with other electric vehicles getting the update in the coming months. The new features will offer real-time battery information right in Google Maps. The system can suggest charging stops along the way and even estimate how long charging will take.
Moving forward, even more cars will have Google built-in, including Nissan, Lincoln, and more. Also, starting today, users can send trips they’ve planned on their phone directly to Google Maps on their car display. For those who prefer to plan out trips in advance, that’s likely to be an appreciated feature.
Image credits: Google