Google releases new features for core Android apps

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Google introduced new features for several of the core Android apps, intended to improve the user experience in accessibility, messaging, and password security. The updates come after the search giant debuted its first developer preview of Android 12, the next release of the smartphone OS.

The headline enhancement announced, will roll out for Messages by Google, the flagship mobile chat app.

The more than 500 million people who use it worldwide will be able to write messages and schedule them to be sent later automatically. This feature is similar to email scheduling, which the search giant has in Gmail.

Borrowing from Gmail

Android product manager Hideaki Oshima explained in a blog post that the way to do this is simple. A user types out the messages just like they would normally. Then, they touch and hold the send button, which gives them the option to schedule the time and date they want it to be sent.

This scheduling feature is not the first thing that the company has borrowed from Gmail. Previously, it added controls to messages that allow users to organize their messages into folders, so they can browse easily.

Alongside Messages, the TalkBack accessibility feature is getting an update too, so blind/visually impaired people can use it with ease.

What else

Google Assistant and Maps are the two next apps to get new capabilities. Assistant will get a setting that allows users to tell the service to perform things like setting an alarm even when the phone is locked.

Maps will bet an upgrade to include the Dark Theme, which Google says can reduce eye-straining and conserve battery life.

The final update is for Android Auto, which users deploy to mirrors their Android apps into their in-car displays. The latest release supports custom wallpaper, voice-activated games, and trivia, with shortcuts to make tasks like checking the weather.