Google makes it easy to connect Android devices to PCs, smart home gadgets, and cars

At today’s CES, Google highlighted several ways it is working to more closely connect the Android operating system to smart home devices and other operating systems, including Windows.

With Google’s Phone Hub on Chromebooks, you can already respond to chat notifications, access Do Not Disturb, find your phone, and browse recent Chrome tabs. But later this year, Google’s Phone Hub will also let you access chat apps from your Android phone on your Chromebook, as well as your Camera Roll.

For those buying a new Chromebook this year, Google promises easy setup and access to data stored using an Android phone, like Wi-Fi connections. Got a Wear OS smartwatch? Use it to unlock Chromebooks and associated Android devices over the next few months.

If you have a Windows PC and an Android phone, you will be able to use Google’s Fast Pair feature to automatically set up Bluetooth accessories, sync text messages, and share files with Microsoft’s nearby share. Look for it later this year on Acer and HP computers with Intel.

Google is also expanding Fast Pair to televisions and smart home devices. And in a few weeks, Chromebooks will be able to automatically detect Fast Pair compatible headphones.

switching

For those who use Bluetooth headphones between devices, Google will also roll out smart switching to supported devices in the coming months (which you can already do with Apple’s AirPods).

“So if you wear headphones to watch a movie on your Android tablet and receive a phone call, the movie will pause and the sound from the headset will automatically switch to your Android phone and then return to movie when you’re done.” . “, explains Google.

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Want to watch this movie on the big screen without disturbing anyone? “In the coming months, you’ll be able to set up your headphones when you need to watch quietly with your Google TV or Android TV OS device at home,” Google said. (Some devices, like the Chromecast with Google TV, may already be paired with wireless headphones and other Bluetooth devices.)

Also on the streaming front: Google is expanding built-in support for Chromecast to more devices, starting with smart speakers and Bose soundbars in the coming months.

Finally, Google introduced new features for certain car brands, such as using a Samsung or Pixel phone to unlock BMWs and sharing digital keys remotely with people on more Android phones and cars. Volvos will also benefit from remote assistance based on Google Assistant, such as using your voice to heat and cool your car, lock and unlock, and more.

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Harry D. Gonzalez