Google has announced a suite of nine new features arriving as part of its Android February Feature Drop. These updates target Android devices, Android Auto, and Wear OS, with six features broadly available to Pixel and other Android users.

Hear AI-generated captions for images

Among the standout additions is the ability to hear AI-generated captions for images through Lookout on Android, catering to blind and low-vision communities with auto-generated descriptions of photos, online images, and message pictures.

Enhanced screen reader support for Lens in Google Maps

Enhanced screen reader support for Lens in Google Maps facilitates easier exploration of nearby locations, such as ATMs and restaurants, with TalkBack reading out pertinent information like business hours and ratings.

Google Docs feedback with handwritten markups

For collaborative work, Google Docs now lets you provide feedback with handwritten markups directly from your Pixel phone using finger or stylus input and a range of markup tools for flexibility.

Spotify Connect in home screen media output switcher

For Spotify listeners, there’s something for you as well. Google is rolling out new home screen casting controls, allowing seamless switching between devices for uninterrupted listening experiences, akin to the existing functionality for YouTube Music. This update essentially brings Spotify Connect to your Pixel’s home screen media output switcher.

Spotify-Connect-Media-Output-on-Android

View your health, wellness and fitness data in one place

The redesigned Fitbit app integrates health, wellness, and fitness data from various sources like AllTrails and MyFitnessPal through the Health Connect app, providing users with a comprehensive overview of their health metrics in one place. In the Fitbit app on your phone, go to “You” tab to view data from connected apps. And in the “Today” tab, you’ll find exercise, steps, calories burned, floors climbed and distance traveled from Health Connect-compatible apps.

Gemini integration into Google Messages

Lastly, Google is introducing Gemini integration into Google Messages, enabling users to engage with the AI assistant directly within the messaging app for tasks such as drafting messages, brainstorming ideas, and planning events without exiting the Messages interface. This feature is available for all Pixel 6 and newer devices as well as select Samsung devices.

Other features rolling out as part of the latest Android February Feature Drop are heading to Android Auto and Wear OS. Android Auto will now summarize long messages and group chats or even suggest quick replies and actions like sending a text, sharing your ETA, or making a call. For Wear OS, Google Wallet passes are now available, allowing users to store boarding passes, tickets, memberships, and more for easy access on the wrist. Pixel Watch users will also be able to get transit directions with a quick glance at Google Maps on the wrist.

It’s worth noting that these features will be rolling out gradually in beta before becoming available for everyone in the coming weeks.

Hillary Keverenge
2141 Posts

Tech has been my playground for over a decade. While the Android journey began early, it truly took flight with the revolutionary Lollipop update. Since then, it's been a parade of Android devices (with a sprinkle of iOS), culminating in a mostly happy marriage with Google's smart home ecosystem. Expect insightful articles and explorations of the ever-evolving world of Android and Google products coupled with occasional rants on the Nest smart home ecosystem.

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