Google announces Sound Amplifier, Lookout and Gboard updates for Android

Google has introduced a number of features for Android that adds new ways of interacting with people and devices. These include new text stickers support in Gboard, new accessibility features, and the ability to use Play Points for in-app purchases.

Gboard has received two new updates. The first is the ability to convert text into custom stickers, which can be more expressive in a conversation. The feature was previously available on Pixel phones and now will be available to all Android Gboard users typing in English-U.S.

The second Gboard update is to the emoji kitchen feature. There are more than 1600 new combinations based on Summer, Pride month and more.

Next, two accessibility features in Android have been updated. The first is for Sound Amplifier, which uses the phone’s microphone to amplify and filter important sounds. It now has improved background noise reduction, better sound accuracy and a revamped user interface.

Lookout, which uses the device’s camera to provide information about the world, also received an update. It has a new ‘Images’ mode, which uses machine learning model for image understanding and then provide an audio description. There are also enhancements made to Text mode, Documents mode, Food Label mode and Explore mode.

Lastly, the Google Play Points rewards program can soon be used to pay for in-app items at checkout, without leaving the app or game. Users can even split between Play Points and another form of payment. This feature will roll out to countries where Play Points is available in the coming weeks (does not include India).