Everything announced at Google IO 2021 – Android 12, Wear, Photos, Maps, and more

    Back in February, the early developer preview of the upcoming Android 12 was released. The OS has now entered the public beta stage and the major changes were showcased at Google IO 2021, along with other announcements by the brand.

    Android 12 features

    Android 12 appears to be a major update in terms of visual design. The notification drawer and the Quick Settings panel has been simplified with a modern look. Menus and animations are more fluid in movement.

    Google Pixel smartphones are getting a feature called colour extraction, wherein on-screen elements like buttons, menus, and widgets will get a colour depending upon the shades in the wallpaper in use. If and when it will come to phones from other brands remains to be seen.

    The new Privacy Dashboard gives an at-a-glance view of data access and app permissions. Status bar indicators to point out when the camera or microphone are being used are also added. Features like Now Playing and Smart Reply will use the Private Compute Core, owing to which the operating system will use AI processing while keeping the personal data on the local device itself instead of sending it to the cloud.

    Google claims that key tasks involving a huge chunk of processor cycles will be 22 per cent faster than before.

    If you want to try your hands on Android 12, head over to the official beta site and check if your device is eligible to get the beta or not.

    What else was announced at Google IO 2021?

    The Wear OS is renamed Wear and is getting a few updates of its own. They have partnered with Samsung to bring some of the good things from Tizen over to Wear. Needless to say, visual and performance improvements are also planned. And we shall see Google putting its Fitbit acquisition to use as well.

    Google announced that it is working on new methods for its devices to interact with each other, including improving the Android and Google TV integration. It is also trying to make Fast Pair technology available on more hardware devices.

    Google Photos will show old photos under the Memories section more intelligently. The app will also have a passcode-locked folder to keep private data away from prying eyes.

    Google Maps is also getting some new features. There will be real-time indicators signifying how busy a particular area is. They also plan to add more help at difficult intersections.

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