Google has announced at least 2 new Android updates this past week. The updates add new features to make Android devices more useful.
To start with, the tech company said that Google Assistant (its new digital assistant) will now be available on more devices. Previously, and since Google Assistant was launched in October last year, it was just available on Google’s own Pixel devices, Google Home, Android Wear and Allo messaging app.
Some of the new devices that Google said will be getting Assistant include phones running Marshmallow or Nougat from companies such as HTC, LG, Samsung, Huawei, and Sony. For English-speaking Android users in the U.S, Canada, the UK and Australia, the update should be arriving this week. German-speaking Android users should expect the same update sometimes next week. The company has said that additional languages will be added for assistant in the course of the year.
Once the update has been installed, you can simply press the home button or say ‘Ok Google’ to launch Assistant. You can then ask questions related to weather forecasts, and a lot of other things.
New Android messages app
Google has also announced a massive update for its Android Messenger app. According to the company, Android Messages will now be the default app to handle text messages on Android phones. The app will ship pre-installed in devices from Motorola, LG, Sony, and many other manufacturers. Android messages will also be pre-installed on Google Pixel and Pixel XL devices. Other smartphone users should download the Android Messages app from Google’s Play Store.
A planned update for this app will make it more powerful, allowing it to change simple SMS into RCS (Rich Communications Services). With RCS, the Android messaging app will offer additional features such as maps, stickers, and notifications that a message has been read. Google has said that the service will be available on devices from partner cell phone service providers such as Sprint, Telenor, Rogers, Orange, Vodafone, Globe and Deutsche Telekom.
Thus far, Google has not announced a date when RCS will be available. However, it will - by all means - be a big deal. The company has given an example where an airline is able to provide a full check-in experience for its customers, including boarding pass, terminal maps, and visual flight updates on demand.
For now, we can just seat and enjoy Google Assistant while the company works on these awesome Android Messages updates.