Google unveils a huge slate of new features for Android, Wear OS, and… Windows devices

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Google unveils a huge slate of new features for Android, Wear OS, and... Windows devices

Google was just one of the many companies that decided to physically sit out this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas at the eleventh hour, but that doesn’t mean the search giant’s first big announcements of 2022 have been impacted in any way, shape, or form.

Of course, we’re not talking about a new Pixel phone here or a hardware product release, upgrade, or expansion of any sort. Instead, Big G is out there doing what it does best, improving, refining, and further optimizing the software running on some of the world’s most popular devices. And no, that doesn’t just include Android… for a change.

Fast Pair all the things!

If you’re the least bit familiar with the Fast Pair technology unveiled for the first time all the way back in 2017, you may have been feeling that there’s more potential to it than just quickly connecting your Bluetooth headphones to your Android handset.

Chromebooks will be able to automatically detect and connect to your Fast Pair-enabled headphones in a single click starting in just “a few weeks”, mind you, while Matter-enabled smart home devices are expected to gain Fast Pair support at some point “in the coming months”, being then able to connect to your network or Google Home app with a few simple taps.

Your headphones will also quickly and easily pair with your Google TV or Android TV OS device starting “in the coming months”, further adding to a more closely-knit ecosystem than ever before.

Perhaps most intriguingly, Google is promising you’ll be able to “do more with Android and Windows PCs” as well in the relatively near future, exemplifying its undoubtedly more complex plans with the impending addition of Fast Pair compatibility to “select” Acer and HP laptops helping you effortlessly sync text messages and share files (among others) between your small and large screen.

But wait, there’s (a whole lot) more

Because Google has so much new stuff to announce and detail at outside of this year’s CES exhibition, some of those details are a little unclear and a few of the software add-ons could fly under the radar… until they actually start to roll out later in the year.

Wear OS devices, for instance, finally look set to catch up to Apple’s market-leading smartwatches in at least one small but important way, with the ability to instantly unlock your Android phone, tablet, and Chromebook directly from your wrist being officially in the pipeline and scheduled for a release “in the coming months.”

BMW vehicle owners will also be happy to hear the brand’s “supported” cars are on the verge of playing nice with “compatible” Samsung and Pixel phones for locking, unlocking, and even engine-starting purposes sans using a traditional key. Google wants you to know it’s working hard to bring digital car keys to “more Android phones and vehicles later this year” as well while also promising you won’t have to take your handset out of your pocket to use it as a car key soon.

Believe it or not, that’s still not everything hardcore Google fans can look forward to in 2022, with built-in Chromecast functionality headed for even more brands than right now, starting with all Bose smart speakers and soundbars “in the next few months.”

Last but not necessarily least, certain “supported” Bluetooth headphones will get a potentially groundbreaking technology soon enabling them to “instinctively” know exactly what devices you want to use and when. Granted, the real-life example offered by Big G to promote the feature is not quite the pinnacle of mobile tech innovation, but it’s sure going to be helpful if our headphones will indeed be able to seamlessly switch between a tablet playing a movie and a phone receiving a call without us lifting a finger.

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