Android gets editable Google Messages, Google Home Favorites Widget, Instant Hotspot, and more

Google just announced a series of updates designed to improve the Android user experience across devices. Some of these had already been spotted and discussed, but Google is now making them official via a blog post, revealing seven new ways in which Android can be even more helpful in our everyday lives.

1. You can now edit sent Google Messages

Among the most notable changes is the ability to edit sent messages within 15 minutes in Google Messages. This feature, long awaited by users, allows for correcting typos or clarifying meaning after hitting send.

Tapping and holding a sent message in Google Messages to activate the edit function.

2. Instant hotspot between Android devices

The company is also introducing instant hotspot functionality, enabling seamless one-tap connection between Android phones and tablets or Chromebooks, eliminating the need to manually enter passwords. Additionally, Google Meet calls can now be transferred between devices during a call, simply by tapping the Cast icon.

Accessing cross-device services in Settings on an Android phone to activate call casting and internet sharing with nearby devices.

3. More Emoji Kitchen combinations

For emoji enthusiasts, Google is rolling out new Emoji Kitchen combinations, allowing users to create unique stickers by mixing and matching their favorite emojis. As usual, Emoji Kitchen is available right within Gboard.

Using Emoji Kitchen on an Android phone to create and share the disco ball emoji mashed up with the headphones emoji.

4. New Google Home Favorites widget

To streamline smart home management, a new Google Home Favorites widget can be added to Android phone home screens. This widget provides quick access to frequently used smart devices, allowing users to adjust settings like room temperature or lighting with a single tap. You may recall that this had been spotted in the app’s code earlier this week, and now it is official.

Adding the Google Home Favorites widget to the home screen of an Android phone and adjusting its size, then using the new widget to instantly turn off the lights and adjust the thermostat.

5. Wear OS smart home control in the watch face

Wear OS smartwatch users will also benefit from enhanced smart home control. The Google Home Favorites tile and complication now offer convenient access to smart devices directly from the watch face. This allows users to perform actions like unlocking doors or adjusting lights before arriving home.

Swiping left on a Wear OS smartwatch to access the Google Home Favorites tile and then tapping into the light icon to increase the kitchen light from 50% to 100%.

6. PayPal support in Google Wallet on Wear OS

Google Wallet on Wear OS is expanding its payment options, with PayPal now supported in the U.S. and Germany. This means users can make secure payments for everyday purchases directly from their wrist.

Adding a PayPal account to Google Wallet on an Android phone so it can be used for payments on a Wear OS smartwatch.

7. Digital car key in more vehicles

Finally, Google’s digital car key technology is expanding to select models from MINI, Mercedes-Benz, and Polestar. Users with compatible vehicles can lock, unlock, and start their cars using their phones, and even share digital keys with others securely.

Automatically unlocking a vehicle with a digital car key on an Android phone by moving close to the vehicle.

These updates aim to improve the Android ecosystem, providing greater convenience, customization, and control across a range of devices and everyday activities. All of the above features should be rolling out soon.

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