Google has announced several new features that are coming to Android phones, including updates for Gboard stickers, Play Points and accessibility apps. Most notably, the company is bringing custom text stickers to all Android devices, after first launching them on Pixel phones in March. When you type, you’ll now be able to turn text into a custom sticker. Google says users will be able to type what they want to say and then select a design to share their message. The new custom text stickers will soon be available to users in the United States who are typing in English.
The company is also rolling out more than 1,600 new Emoji Kitchen combinations to help users express themselves by making new hybrid emojis. Google is also adding new rainbow-based stickers to allow people to celebrate Pride Month.
Google is also bringing improved background noise reduction to the Sound Amplifier app, which is designed for people with hearing loss. The app uses your phone to amplify and filter important sounds around you. With the new update, the app brings faster and more accurate sound, along with a revamped user interface that Google says is easier to use.
There are also new updates for the Lookout app, which is designed for people with low vision or blindness and uses your phone’s camera to provide information about the world around you. The app is getting a new “Images” mode that uses Google’s latest machine learning model to enable users to hear a description of an image. There are also updates to the app’s Text mode, Documents mode, Food label mode and Explore mode to make Lookout more accurate. The app also now works offline without the need for a Wi-Fi or data service connection.
“We’re introducing a set of updates to help your phone stand out as much as you do,” said Angana Ghosh, the director of product management at Android, in a blog post. “From more expressive ways to message your friends, to subtle but smart upgrades to entertainment and accessibility, we ensure that every interaction with your Android device is more helpful than the last. These updates add to countless ways Android already helps you connect with others and the world around you.”
Lastly, users who have Google Play Points can now use them to get in-app items without leaving their games or apps. You have the option to cover the entire cost of the purchase with your Play Points or split it between Play Points and another form of payment. The new update is rolling out over the coming weeks in countries where Play Points is available.