Google adds a host of free upgrades for Android phones, wearables and TVs

Merry Christmas from Google

A Google Home Mini sat next to a phone with the Google Home app on the screen
(Image credit: Bence Boros / Unsplash)

The great thing about the Android operating system is that Google is always innovating with it. They must be feeling generous however because for the holiday season they have gifted us a bevvy of upgrades (no less than 11) across Android phones, watches and Google TV. 

With such a wealth of upgrades, lets get right into a rundown of the new features that are making their way into our everyday lives. 

The first batch of changes is for Google Messages. New emojis have been added to the emoji combining Emoji Kitchen feature, you can also now add 'moods' to voice messages with emojis and moving themes. Another cute change is a bunch of effects when you 'react' to messages. None of these are particularly essential changes, but still fun. 

The security conscious will be more thankful for the ability to protect your passkey for websites or apps that request user verification with an additional PIN. Android's accessibility options for phone calls are also set to be improved in the "next few weeks" with increased language options in live captions and "the ability to reply during phone calls by texting a response that’s read aloud." Rather impressively, Google's TalkBack software for vision-impaired users can now use AI to describe images audibly as well, even your ownphotos. 


(Image credit: Google)

WearOS is Google's smartwatch-focused operating system, particularly concerned with the Pixel Watch, and it has also received some new features. As of now you can turn on and dock smart appliances like robot vacuums or control smart lights from your watch. You can also now set your smart home setup to switch between 'Home' or 'Away' presets where for example when away the lights will turn off and the alarms switch on. 

Another time saver for your timepiece is WearOS's Assistance Routines and soon you will be able to start them from your watch via voice command. You might already have noticed too the new 'Assistant At a Glance' shortcut on your watch's home screen that provides you with key information in a hurry. 

Finally, Google is adding 10 new channels to its Google TV offering, taking its free TV offering to over 115 different channels. Phew! That was a lot! 

Andy Sansom
Staff Writer

Andy is T3's Tech Staff Writer, covering all things technology, including his biggest passions such as gaming, AI, phones, and basically anything cool and expensive he can get his hands on. If he had to save one possession from a fire it would be his PlayStation 5. He previously worked for Tom’s Guide - where he got paid to play with ChatGPT every day. When it comes to streaming, Andy will have his headphones glued in whilst watching something that will make him laugh. He studied Creative Writing at university, but also enjoys supporting his favourite football team (Liverpool), watching F1, teaching himself guitar, and spending time with his dog.