Google’s bought a spherical of Android and app updates in time for MWC, beginning with a brand new method to chat with its personal chatbot Gemini: proper inside Google Messages. There’s additionally a handful of different small updates touching Android Auto, Google Docs, and a few new clever accessibility options for visually impaired individuals.

When you’re simply dying to DM your new bestie Gemini, you received’t have to wait lengthy — it’s arriving as an replace to the Messages app this week, although you’ll want to be enrolled in Google’s beta testing program to entry it for now. The identical entry guidelines apply so there’s no Google One subscription required, a minimum of for this model. After I examined Gemini alongside ChatGPT a couple of weeks in the past, Gemini left quite a bit to be desired as a conversational accomplice. Including the chatbot to your messaging app is a method to make it really feel extra like speaking to a buddy. Gemini in Messages is solely out there in English for now, and solely in “certain markets.”

Watch to the tip for somebody “reacting” to an AI joke with an emoji.
Picture: Google

Android Auto is additionally getting an AI replace, enabling summaries of lengthy texts or chat threads so you may preserve your eyes on the street when you catch up. It can additionally recommend replies and actions primarily based on context, like surfacing the choice to share your ETA if a buddy asks whenever you’ll arrive.

Generative AI is additionally on the heart of some accessibility function updates to Lookout and Maps. Lens within the Google Maps app is getting display reader enhancements to assist determine locations of enterprise and supply related info about them, like hours of operation. Lookout, which identifies objects and indicators for people who find themselves visually impaired, will now routinely generate descriptions for photos utilizing AI, together with images on-line and people shared in messages. Google says this is rolling out globally now in English.

Actually this appears actually useful.
Picture: Google

The final couple of updates within the bunch don’t have anything to do with AI — they’re simply useful. Google’s making a small change to Android that makes it simpler to swap output units whenever you’re utilizing Spotify — that’s good! However hands-down my favourite new function of the bunch is assist for handwritten annotations in Google Docs. It’s an replace for Android telephones and tablets that permits you to select from a wide range of pen and highlighter colours so you may mark notes on a doc with your finger or a stylus.

As one that buys too many journals and loves taking notes with a stylus, this brings me nice pleasure. It’ll little question be extra helpful on a much bigger canvas like a Pixel Pill — keep in mind, Google is nonetheless attempting to make Android tablets occur — or the interior display of a foldable so you may scribble to your coronary heart’s content material. No AI required.