Google didn’t present anything physically at this year’s CES, but instead opted to kick off 2022 with a ton of announcements related to new features for Android, Chromebooks, and smart devices to make your life easier.
Google has tried to recreate a quick pairing experience with its Fast Pair feature, but device makers don’t follow it consistently. For instance, the OnePlus Buds Pro doesn’t support it, but the newest OnePlus Buds Z2 supports the standard. Plus, it mostly works with only phones and tablets.
To solve this problem, Google is bringing Fast Pair to Chromebooks, Google TV, and Android TV, so you can pair your buds or speakers easily with these devices — no rifling through Bluetooth settings to get connected. Plus, this new version of the standard will allow you to quickly set up Matter-enabled devices in a few taps later this year.
When I’m using multiple devices, I expect my wireless earphones to switch between them seamlessly. However, this is mostly a dream, and the reality is that I have to manually do it each time I move from my PC to my tablet, my tablet to my phone and so on.
Google is now introducing auto-switching between devices based on context. For instance, if you’re watching a video on your tablet, and if you get a call on your Android phone, your buds will automatically pause the video, and switch to the phone audio so you can talk.
This sounds great, and I’d love to see it in action. Hopefully, this works for quickly switching sources between Chromebook, tablet, TV, and phone.
I am mad at Google for not releasing the new remote-enabled Chromecast in India. That thing could’ve been a lifesaver at house parties when EVERYONE wants to play their favorite tracks.
But there’s hope: the company says it’s partnering with more brands to bring in-built Chromecast functionality in their products — starting with Bose smart speakers and soundbars.
Apart from audio-friendly features, Google has announced Nearby Share support for select Windows PCs and unlocking your phone with a Wear OS watch. You can read more about them here.