Google bringing Pixel-only functions to all Android smartphones

After unveiling its software ambition for the automotive industry, Google has announced the upcoming arrival of new features on all Android devices. Best of all, to take advantage of these new functions, some of which were previously only available on Pixels, you won’t have to wait for the arrival of Android 12 on your smartphone.

Facial expressions to control your smartphone

A few weeks ago, we discovered that Google was launching “Camera Switches”, a new solution to control your smartphone using facial expressions.

Designed to help disabled users to use their smartphone, Camera Switches relies on facial expressions and eye movements captured by the device’s front camera to navigate the smartphone, perform actions and control certain applications .

If this function was intended to be offered only on Android 12, it is not. Google has just announced that it will be rolled out to all devices starting September 30.

It will be directly integrated into Android Accessibility Tools. You just need to update the application directly from the Google Play Store to use it.

To complement its accessibility tools, Google is also planning to launch a new app, Lookout, which uses the smartphone’s camera to help people with visual impairments perform certain daily tasks more easily and quickly.
Concretely, the application is able to scan bar codes to identify products and foods, to transcribe typed or handwritten text to read it aloud by the screen reader, to recognize banknotes at the time of to pay, or to give indications as to the objects around you.

Smartphone-controlled television

Owners of Android TV and Google TV devices will be delighted. Google has just announced the deployment of a virtual remote control directly in Android so you can control your TV without having to search for the physical remote.

In addition to controlling the content, you can use your smartphone’s virtual keyboard to easily enter text on your TV. This will allow you to easily search for content, and above all to enter your username and password more quickly, in particular by accessing the password manager integrated into your smartphone.

To take advantage of it, you will have to deploy the quick configuration pane to add the dedicated button on the remote control. The feature is currently being rolled out and will be rolling out to all users in the coming weeks.

Locked photo folders, Nearby Share and Heads Up for everyone

Another interesting novelty, Google indicates that it is in the process of deploying the locked folder in Google Photos for all users. The feature, previously only available to Pixel owners, creates a passcode-protected folder to store photos and videos separately from the rest of the camera roll.
Everything stored there is then invisible in Google Photos and cannot be opened from other apps.

Google has also planned some improvements to its Nearby Share feature. It now gives you more control over who can see your device around you to send you files. The new options built into the feature are accessible from the quick configuration pane and now allow you to choose whether you want your device to be visible to everyone, only your contacts, or no one.

Finally, Heads Up, Google’s function to prevent you from falling when using your smartphone, will be accessible on all devices from Android 9. Originally available only on Pixels smartphones, the function is integrated into the Digital well-being module and allows you to display reminders on the screen when you use your smartphone while walking.

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