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Hey Android users, Google announces 3D calls and new privacy features

Big Tech loves to put on a production whenever it can. These events show upcoming products and developments while hyping up the crowd, virtual or otherwise.

Apple’s 2021 event showcased a range of iOS products, including new entries in the iPad and iMac families. Tap or click here to check out our roundup.

Google’s annual I/O (input/output) developer conference introduced the new Android operating system, Chrome, Chromebook, Google+ and other Google mainstays over the years, along with various updates along the way. The 2021 keynote just took place, and you can check out the highlights below.

Android 12

The first public beta of the latest Android OS is out now and the focus is customization. Choose your wallpaper, color and widgets. Motions and animations have been smoothed out, which you’ll notice when swiping.

The notification shade is more intuitive, and Quick Settings give you easy access to most of the operating system. You can long-press the power button to use Assistant, make a phone call, open apps, ask questions or read texts aloud.

With Android 12, some Pixel and Samsung Galaxy phones can be used as a digital car key to unlock and start your vehicle.

Privacy updates

Quick delete lets you delete the last 15 minutes of your search history with one tap from the Google Account menu. The updated password manager has a tool that easily lets you import passwords from other managers. It now works seamlessly across sites and apps, whether you are on mobile or desktop. Password alerts warn if one of your passwords was involved in a data breach.

You also get a password protected Locked Folder in your Photos app. Tap or click here to check out these earbuds perfect for Android.

Google Maps updates

Google Maps now helps you avoid hard braking by scanning for the fastest route with the least likelihood of hard braking situations. When you’re walking around on foot, Live View uses augmented reality to get more information on places around you.

More detailed street maps are coming, showing you sidewalks, crosswalks and other pedestrian paths to plan your ideal route on foot.

Shopping improvements

Google wants to make it easier to discover shops and products. Like a pair of shoes that you found online? Take a screenshot and open Google Photos to search for them in Lens. Search results can help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Chrome now lets you view your open shopping cart when you open a new tab so that you can come back to it at any time.

Project Starline

Google is performing tests to make video calls more realistic. Google describes it as “looking through a sort of magic window, and through that window, you see another person, life-size and in three dimensions.”

Google captures your image in 3D, compresses it and broadcasts it live through a three-dimensional display.

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