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6 new Android 11 features that you can use today



android-11

Android 11 introduces a handful of features that either download the iPhone or blow past it.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

As Android 11 continues to roll out For mobile phones around the world, users of Google’s mobile operating system get lots of new features that can completely change the way they use their phones. Apple iOS has been offering some of them for several years, but other new tricks put Google ahead of the iPhone ($ 699 on Amazon).

From connecting third-party apps and voice-assisted Google Assistant in deeper and more useful ways to new communication tools designed to facilitate conversations, Android 11 brings many important changes just as Apple is preparing for the launch of the rumored iPhone 12 with updated iOS 14 on October 13th.

As competition with rival smart assistants like Apple Siri and Amazons Alexa continues to warm up, Google has added more and more features to its digital helper, Google Assistant. Google Assistant is not only standard AI on Android phones, but is also baked in Google Home and Google Nest smart home devices (and also available on Apple devices loaded with some Google apps).

Here’s a look at six of the most interesting and useful updates coming to Android 11 Phones 2020.

Google Booth CES 2020

A monorail train with “Hey Google” promoted Google Assistant at CES 2020.

James Martin / CNET

Google Assistant now works with third-party apps

For several years, Android users have been able to open their email, send text and control a whole host of actions on their phones with Google Assistant, but the feature was limited to Android apps and services. Apple’s Siri, on the other hand, has been able to control third-party apps for a while now.

But Google has leveled things. The company recently announced partnerships with 30 third-party apps, including Walmart, Mint, Spotify, Etsy and Discord, and says it expects to add more in the coming weeks and months.

Now Android 11 users will be able to perform tasks on specific apps by saying things like:

  • “Hello, Google, search for cozy blankets on Etsy”
  • “OK, Google, open Selena Gomez on Snapchat.”
  • “Hello, Google, sign a berry smoothie on MyFitnessPal.”
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Android phones with Google’s call filtering feature can intercept potential spam calls before interrupting you.

Google

Verified calls let you know who is calling

When your phone rings out of the blue, you want to know who is calling and why. The Android app you use to make and receive calls has received some updates to help you figure it out, even when you do not recognize the number – just as iPhones can do.

except spam filtering, which works by silencing calls from numbers that Google has identified as potentially fraudulent, Google has also introduced the Verified Calls feature, which approves certain companies and displays the company name, logo, reason for the call and a verification symbol.

There is a similar program called Verified SMS for text messages.

Android can turn sound into push notifications

All kinds of things, from microwaves to fire alarms to visitors standing outside your front door, use sound to warn you. However, if you have hearing loss or wear headphones, you may not get them all. Android’s new audio notifications the function is designed to listen for all the beeps, buzzes and knocks around you and then alert you with a push message on your phone.

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Whether you’ve suffered from hearing loss or just like to wear headphones, Android’s new Sound Notification feature is designed to pass on important information from your surroundings like a push message on your phone.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Audio messages use machine learning and the phone’s microphone to listen to 10 different types of sounds, including children’s sounds, running water, smoke and fire alarms, devices such as beeps and door knocking. Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 14, has a similar feature is called sound recognition.

Open to enable audio notifications in Android 11 settingsand then press Availability and activate Audio messages.

Google TV is coming to Android

Android TV, recently redesigned and updated as Google TV, rolls out to Android devices with a host of new and old features that sync across devices, including your library, recommendations, and watch list. This unites it with Apple TV ($ 180 on best buy) devices and apps.

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Google rebranded Android TV as Google TV and added features like the ability to search multiple streaming subscriptions.

Google / Screenshot by CNET

The biggest change that Google TV brings to the Android movie and TV experience is the ability to search between multiple providers such as Netflix, Hulu and even live TV. You can ask, “Hello, Google, find action movies” or “Show me sci-fi adventure TV shows” and the results span your subscriptions.

Google Duo adds screen sharing, video voicemail

People who rely on Google Duo’s video calling services for video calling to communicate with family and friends now have a couple of new ways to connect via screen sharing and voice messaging with captions – two features Apple’s FaceTime still lacks.

To share the screen during a video call, press three dots at the bottom right, then tap Screen sharing. A pop-up question asks if you want to share sensitive information about the call. Tap Start now to accept.

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Google’s response to FaceTime and Skype, called Google Duo, has a couple of new features that are unique to video calling.

James Martin / CNET

To leave a video message, either wait for the call to go unanswered for 60 seconds or press Leave a video message while it is still ringing. Follow the instructions on the screen, then tap Send. Captions are added automatically.

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With action blocks, users click on an image and the app speaks the selected phrase aloud.

Google

The Action Blocks app turns images into speech

The new Action Blocks app uses images and symbols to convey short phrases. Google calls it an “artificial voice for people with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism, aphasia and other speech-related disabilities.”

To try Action Blocks, download it from the Google Play app store. (For the record, Apple has similar apps available in the App Store, but none from Apple.)

For more Google tips and tricks, check these out five Google Maps tricks which goes beyond just directions, these seven Android 11 features you must use immediately and how to pay for parking directly from the Google Maps app.


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