Google announces Android feature drop at MWC 2024, adding Gemini to Messages app

Google's latest Android feature drop update includes a GIF of Gemini that provide suggestions to enhance jokes
An undated image displaying Google search bar. — Pexels
An undated image displaying Google search bar. — Pexels

At its inaugural take at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. Spain, search engine giant Google announced its top-of-the-line AI-powered Android feature drop.

Reflecting on the latest feature drop in a separate announcement on Monday, Google said the upgraded Android version will infuse Google's Gemini in the Messages app, the AI chatbot Google rebranded this month from Google Bard.

The latest update includes a GIF of Gemini that provides suggestions to make jokes better. Another new addition, previously identified in Android code by 9to5Google, leverages AI within Android Auto to ease the mental burden for drivers by automatically summarising texts and chats, and proposing contextually relevant responses and actions, such as sharing your estimated arrival time.

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When users point their phone’s camera at surroundings, Google Maps will now verbally convey important information about nearby locations, such as operating hours. 

Additionally, Lookout, the vision-assistance app introduced by Google in 2019, extends its support for automatically generated English-language captions of images to locations outside the US.

The latest update for Google Docs on Android now allows users to leave handwritten annotations in their preferred colours. While it may be challenging to write long-form comments with fingertip swipes on a phone's screen, expressing confusion with a large virtual red ink "huh?" can be quite impactful.

One of the upcoming Android updates will enhance a specific third-party app: The output-switch shortcut on the Android home screen will now support Spotify in addition to Google’s YouTube Music, enabling quicker switching between playback devices when casting audio from your device. 

Additionally, Google’s smartwatch operating system will introduce two features that have been available on Apple’s watchOS for years: Wear OS will now have the ability to display passes stored in Google Wallet, such as boarding passes and frequent-customer cards, as well as show turn-by-turn transit directions.