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Android 12, Google Workspace and 5 other big reveals from Google I/O

Android 12, Google Workspace and 5 other big reveals from Google I/O

Google may not be ready to hold an in-person developer conference quite yet, but Google I/O was full of new developments across all of Google’s products and services. Well, one line of products was missing: hardware. If you were hoping for details on new Pixels, Chromecasts, Stadia consoles, or Nest smart home gear, you’ll have to wait.

But Google did offer new details on the long-awaited Android 12; enhancements to its core Search, Photos, and Shopping experiences; and reminded us over and over that, yes, it really cares about privacy. There was even a “one more thing” moment in Project Starline.

Below is what you need to know about Google I/O 2021.

Android 12

One of the more hotly anticipated announcements of Google I/O 2021 was Android 12, the next iteration of Android for smartphones. Google said that it rethought every aspect of Android, from the basic UI to notifications to quick settings. The result? What Google calls “Material You.”

As Google normally does, it will launch Android 12 first in its Pixel phones—but it did not announce any new Pixel hardware, or any hardware at all. Good news, though: Google says it made under-the-hood improvements to speed up Android 12 by up to 22 percent. This should allow it to run on cheaper, less powerful hardware.

android 12 Google

Android 12 will automatically generate personal color palates with a “designer’s eye.” The “Material You” Android UI revamp begins with a phone’s wallpaper: Select an image, and Android will recalibrate the device’s interface color palette to complement it. Google says that Android 12 will “flex” to every device, too, adapting the UI to different devices, with adjustments to layout, and color—even line widths. And that goes for third-party apps, too.

Quick Settings have been reworked, emphasizing Google Pay and your Google smart home ecosystem Home controls. New privacy indicators will tell you when apps are using your camera or mic, and a new Private Compute Core will allow Googe’s AI to perform tasks that would normally require help from the Google cloud to execute.

Finally, there’s a big change to Google Assistant: Just give the power button a long press to access it.