The New Features Coming to Your Android Phone

Android is bringing Portrait Blur to more photo types, Nearby Share to multiple devices at once, grammar check on Gboard and more.

Corinne Reichert Senior Writer
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently oversees the CNET breaking news desk for the West Coast. Corinne covers everything from phones, social media and security to movies, politics, 5G and pop culture. In her spare time, she watches soccer games, F1 races and Disney movies.
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Corinne Reichert
2 min read

Android is updating Photos, Messages, Emoji Kitchen and more.


Google introduced a swathe of new Android updates on Thursday. As well as paying for parking by using voice command and a whole bunch of Messages updates including iPhone-like reactions, Android also updated Google TV, Photos, Widgets, Gboard and Nearby Share.

Here are the latest features on Android:

Google Photos: Portrait Blur is coming to more types of photos, like those with plants, pets and food, for Pixel users and Google One members. You can also add the blurring effect to the background of images you've already taken. It was previously only available on photos of people taken in portrait mode.

Nearby Share: Android users can now share photos, videos, links, audio files and documents with multiple nearby people at once by tapping to add more people during a transfer. The update is rolling out now on all Android 6+ devices.


  • A grammar check feature is coming to Gboard for all Android users. It detects errors and suggests corrections while you type.
  • Emoji Kitchen: Android is adding more than 2,000 extra emoji mashup stickers to Gboard.

Google TV: A new Highlights section aggregates your favorite shows into a feed. It includes news articles and reviews on favorited and suggested shows and movies -- and one tap will take you to the movie or TV show so you can watch, add to your watch list or review it.

Widgets: A new screen time widget will be added to show how long you've spent on your top three most used apps on your phone, which Google says will help users "reflect regularly on their digital well-being."  It'll let you set daily timers for apps, use "focus mode" to pause certain apps at a set time each day and use "bedtime mode" to silence your phone and turn the display black and white whenever you're going to sleep.

Live transcribe offline: Real-time speech-to-text captions are now available in offline mode. The app comes preinstalled on Samsung and Pixel phones, or available as a free download.