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Google is launching a bunch of Android updates to end the year

Google pushes out a handful of recentminute Android updates before the end of the year, including a major update to the delightful Emoji Kitchen feature in Gboard.

Earlier this year, Google released Emoji Kitchen as part of Gboard, so that people can essentially remix or create new emoji “recipes”

; by combining a variety of existing emoticons. So if you wanted to create a ghost with a cowboy hat, you could simply combine standard cowboy hat emoji with ghost emoji, and voila: Well you have an eerie undead cowboy emoji.

Illustration for article titled Google Is Supercharging Emoji Remixing with Emoji Kitchen in Gboard

Picture: Google

Wwith Emoji Kitchen’s latest update,which is starting to roll out this weekGoogle expands the range of unique combinations from hundreds to more than 14,000, giving you the freedom to potentially create the perfect emoji for any situation.

Google’s other Android updates include upgrades to Google Maps, Android Auto, Share nearby, Google Play Books, and availability. In Google Maps, there will be a new Go tab that provides directions to your most visited places; all you have to do is tap somewhere from the tab.

Here is a demo of the new Go tab in Google Maps.
Gif: Google

For other places you have pinned, the Go tab will also provide information about these places, including a shortcut to directions, traffic info, and estimated arrival time. Google Maps even lets you pin different routes for different modes of transportation, so whether you’re driving or taking public transportation, you can plan your route and navigation in advance. Although there is no specific schedule for when the Go tab will be available in Google Maps on your device, Google says so will be available on both Android and iOS devices in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Google is expanding support for those who trust Android Auto more to 36 countries to, including Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Indonesia and Namibia.

Illustration for article titled Google Is Supercharging Emoji Remixing with Emoji Kitchen in Gboard

Picture: Google

To Share nearby, which Google launched earlier this year as a replacement for Android Beam and as an alternative to Apple’s AirDrop sharing system, you’ll now be able to share full apps from the Google Play Store with others, even if you’re not connected to mobile data or wifi. All you have to do is go to the My Apps & Games tab in the Google Play app and then look for the Share apps option. LSimilar to the Go tab in Google Maps, Sharing Apps with Nearby Sharing is expected to roll out in the coming weeks.

When it comes to books, by collaborating with a number of publishers in the US and UK, Google Play gets the ability to create automatically generated narrator voices, and automatically turns ebooks into audiobooks automatically. On the other hand, it’s at the moment It is unclear which ebooks will have this functionality, and right now the tool for creating automatically told audiobooks is still in beta before the feature rolls out to all publishers sometime in early 2021.

Finally, to improve the availability of Android phones, Google is expanding its support Voice Access app to older version of Android. Previously only available on Android 11 devices, Voice Access allows people with paralysis, injuries or limited motor function to use and control their Android devices using their voice. Voice Access allows users to use voice commands to interact with their phone. It is also able to read UI buttons and more to make navigating easier, and with this latest update, Voice Access will now be available (basically as an open beta app) on all Android devices running Android 6 ( Marshmallow) and newer.

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