Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Google Updates Android Messaging, Accessibility Features and More

Zachary McAuliffe Staff writer
Zach began writing for CNET in November, 2021 after writing for a broadcast news station in his hometown, Cincinnati, for five years. You can usually find him reading and drinking coffee or watching a TV series with his wife and their dog.
Expertise Web hosting, operating systems, applications and software Credentials
  • Apple software beta tester, "Helps make our computers and phones work!" - Zach's grandparents
Zachary McAuliffe
Three Android phones with digital stickers which read "Love you, Joe" and "Thanks"

Google's new Android features can make texting more fun and help people see and hear the world around them.


What's happening

Google has updated Gboard, Lookout, Sound Amplifier and more for Android users.

Why it matters

More Gboard users can send text stickers to others. Accessibility feature improvements include filtering out background sounds to help people hear, or reading the description of an image to people who have low vision or are blind.

Google unveiled an update for Android users on Thursday, filled with new messaging and accessibility features.

All Gboard users who type in English-US will now be able to turn their words into text stickers. This feature was previously available on Pixel phones, but now other Android users will be able to send custom text stickers to their friends and family.

Google also announced new emoji combinations in Emoji Kitchen. There are more than 1,600 new emoji mashups, including raining soccer balls and a winking hotdog. Google also revealed new Pride stickers for Pride Month.

The accessibility apps Sound Amplifier and Lookout also received updates.

Sound Amplifier's update is designed to reduce background noise, bring faster and improved sound and improve the user interface so it's easier to see.

Lookout's update brings users Image mode, which will read a description of an image to you. Lookout will also work offline now without Wi-Fi or data. Text mode, Documents mode, Food Label mode and Explore mode are all receiving updates as well. 

Google also said users with Google Play Points will soon be able to use those points for in-app items at checkout, without leaving an app or game.

The updates are being rolled out to users in the coming weeks, so they might not be available to you just yet.

Watch this: Google I/O Announces Android 13, Pixel 6A and Pixel Watch; Amazon Fires Employees at Unionized Warehouse