Google made several major announcements at CES 2024 this week, unveiling partnerships and upgrades that promise to significantly improve the Android experience. Chief among them is a collaboration between Google and Samsung to unify their competing file-sharing systems into one called “Quick Share,” along with better interoperability in general across the Android ecosystem.
Google and Samsung Partner on Quick Share
For years, Google’s Nearby Share and Samsung’s Quick Share have competed as ways to quickly and easily send files from one Android device to another. Now, the two tech giants have agreed to combine their efforts into a unified system that will work across Android devices.
The new Quick Share experience promises to make sharing photos, videos, and files seamless between any Android 11+ phones from any manufacturer. According to Google, Quick Share will automatically discover nearby Android devices and enable ad hoc connections using Bluetooth LE, WebRTC, or peer-to-peer WiFi.
This unified file sharing system should provide an experience on Android that rivals Apple’s popular AirDrop feature for iOS and macOS devices in terms of convenience and speed.
Key Improvements in Quick Share
|Faster sharing speeds
|Utilizes best wireless tech available between devices
|Support for sharing with multiple devices simultaneously
|No more one-at-a-time transfers
|Works between any Android 11+ devices
|Files secured during transfer
By removing fragmentation and combining the resources and knowledge behind Nearby Share and Quick Share, Android’s file-sharing scheme finally has the potential to compete with AirDrop and provide a seamless cross-device experience that iPhone users have enjoyed for years.
Expanded Fast Pair and Media Controls
In addition to collaborations on Quick Share, Google also announced several other upgrades focused on tightening integration across Android, including an expansion of Fast Pair capabilities and new media playback controls.
Fast Pair, which allows instant Bluetooth pairing between Android devices, now works with supported headphones and speakers when used with an Android TV or Google TV device. For example, wireless headphones that support Fast Pair will now instantly connect to an Android smart TV for private listening without needing to dig into Bluetooth settings menus.
Google is also centralizing playback controls across mobile and TV devices in a feature called Media Controls. This allows music or videos playing on an Android phone to be easily casted and controlled from an Android TV interface. And playback can follow users from device to device, like when leaving the house with music that seamlessly hands off from an Android TV to phone.
These upgrades help address long-standing complaints about fragmentation across the Android ecosystem by improving integrations between smartphones, tablets, TV streamers, headphones, speakers, and other devices.
Major Improvements for Vehicles
Google also made some notable transportation-focused announcements at CES 2024. This includes bringing Android Auto capabilities right into vehicle infotainment systems without needing a connected phone. Built-in Google Assistant and Google Maps will provide intelligent routing, predictions, and suggestions directly on vehicle dashboards.
For electric vehicles, Google is partnering with automakers like Polestar and Volvo to bring new EV-focused functionality to Google Maps. This includes factors like elevation changes, weather, and driving mode when routing and estimating remaining charge at destinations.
Chromecast Adds TikTok Streaming and More
The new year brings good news for TikTok fans who use Chromecast devices. Google’s popular TV streaming dongle will now support viewing TikTok videos directly from the smartphone app and casting them onto the largest screen in the home. This feature locks onto an important video stream for younger audiences.
Additionally, Google announced a new partnership with LG to bring Chromecast capabilities directly into new LG smart TVs. Over time, this change could reduce the need for standalone Chromecast devices as casting functions get built straight into displays.
Other notable improvements include upgrades focused on accessibility, safety, and power savings when using Android devices. With CES 2024 wrapping up, consumers can look forward to many of these new integrations and capabilities launching across Android products over the coming year. And with Google demonstrating a renewed focus on tightening up Android’s ecosystem with key partners like Samsung, the experience improvement could prove significant.
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