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Sharing between your own Android devices is about to get much easier

Google has announced a number of new Android features designed to ease the sharing of content between all of your devices, while also making devices more accessible.

The key update is for Nearby Share, which is Android’s answer to Apple’s AirDrop technology, which makes it easier to transfer files.

The new update enables users to opt-in with their tech items and then quickly move files between the devices they own. They’ll be automatically accepted, even if the screen is off. That way you can send the photo, file, or web link and forget about it, rather than having to accept the file on the receiving device.

We’ve been expecting this for a while now, but it’ll only available as an Android-to-Android feature. Google didn’t announce when it’ll roll out precisely, but it’ll be along in the next few weeks.

Elsewhere, the updates are designed to improve accessibility on Android and well beyond. For example, there are now larger widgets for Google Drive and Google Keep. “With an updated Google Drive widget, three home screen buttons now offer one-touch access to your Google Docs, Google Slides and Google Sheets files. And in Google Keep, a bigger widget and font size makes note-taking, to-do lists, and reminders easy to access,” Google writes in a blog post.

Google TV is also getting new Audio Descriptions to help blind and low-vision people, which are discoverable by hitting the Google Assistant button and saying “search audio description movies”. For the deaf and hard of hearing community there are now custom sound alerts for the Sound Notifications section of the Live Transcribe & Notifications settings. That feature can detect fire alarms and running water sounds, for example.

Google is also adding an ‘Emojify’ button to the Gboard app for Android. When you’ve completed your sentence, you can hit Emojify in order to add a collection of suggested emoji related to what you’ve typed out. Google reckons this’ll be easier than searching for emoji one by one. You can keep tapping the button to get the configuration you want. Google has also added loads of emoji mashup stickers to Gboard.

Games like Uno and Heads Up are coming to Google Meet and you can play on Android phones and tablets with up to 100 people. Bitmoji are also coming to Wear OS watch faces for deeper personalisation of those wearables.

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