Android is Getting New Features Including Digital Car Keys, New Widgets, and More

With 2021 coming to an end, Google has decided to add new features to Android. A lot of them are minor updates, but the good news is that these updates are coming to older versions of Android as well.

Digital Car Keys

The social media giant has added digital car key support for select countries around the world. It will be available on Google Pixel 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S21 family for now but should roll out to other devices in the future. It only supports BMW cars at the moment but more will be added later.

Family Bell

Family Bell is a new feature that will remind you and your family about important events such as family movie nights, gatherings, etc.

You can set custom times and events for Family Bells and the reminders can come through a phone, smart speakers, a smart display, and more. You can also set personal “bells” to stay up to date with your individual to-do list.

New Widgets

A few Google apps are getting new widgets, namely Google Play Books, Google Photos, and YouTube Music.

These widgets will bring more functionality to your home screen. For instance, the new Books widget will let you access your whole library and keep track of your progress in books. The new Photos widget can put your loved ones on the homescreen with a photo frame, and YouTube Music will add more playback options.

Updated Google Keyboard

Gboard is getting a slew of new Emoji Kitchen combinations. This lets you create cool combinations between different emojis and save them in a library for quick sending.

Auto-resetting permissions will block permissions for apps that haven’t been used in a while. These permissions will be reverted once you open them again. This is so your apps don’t keep collecting your data while they’re dormant.

Google promises that most of these features should be released to Android phones around the world in “upcoming weeks”.