Google didn’t make any tangible announcements at this year’s CES, instead opting to start 2022 with a slew of new features for Android, Chromebooks, and smart gadgets to make your life easier.
Google has released many Android updates, including a big enhancement to its Fast Pair service. Google Fast Pair is a feature that uses Bluetooth and the location of the user’s Android phone to automatically detect Bluetooth accessories and connect them with a single tap.
The company said in a blog post:
We’re continuing our work with partners to further extend Fast Pair’s functionality beyond audio connectivity with wearables, headphones, speakers and cars and extending it to TVs and smart home devices, so you can instantly start using all the devices in your life.— Google
This piece of news explains how wireless audio devices will become significantly easier to connect to and utilize. Everything is fine if you’re in the Apple ecosystem: your AirPods are linked in a single tap, and switching between iPhone and Mac as an audio source is simple. That’s exactly what Google wants to do in its own ecosystems.
Bluetooth Multipoint, but created by Google
Google is developing a technology for Chromebooks and Android devices that is akin to Bluetooth’s multipoint. The press statement is light on details, but given that Bluetooth Multipoint currently exists and that the supported devices will be Chromebooks and Android devices, we expect this to be based on Google Play Services or another proprietary solution.
Per Google, if you’re watching a movie on one device and getting a call on another, the movie will halt and the headphone audio will automatically transition to your Android phone, then return to the movie when you’re done.
This sounds quite similar to what Bluetooth Multipoint can already do, so we’re interested to see what new technology Google is developing to accomplish this. In the next months, this capability will be available on approved headphones.
When used with Android and ChromeOS devices, Google is also delivering Spatial Audio features to supported headphones. Spatial Audio adjusts sound to your head motions, placing it in the space all around you.
At the time of its release, Spatial Audio was a standout feature of the Apple AirPods Max, and many users claim that it is a more perceptible feature than lossless audio. In the coming months, this feature will be available on approved headphones, so we’ll finally get to see what all the fuss is about.
More speakers and soundbars will have Chromecast built-in
Chromecast is a useful tool for transferring playable content between devices. Sharing videos from Android phones to TVs with built-in Chromecast has been one of Chromecast’s most popular applications. However, Chromecast may also be used to play audio-only content, taking use of the speaker and soundbar ecosystem to make it easier to listen to tunes and audiobooks.
Google is introducing Chromecast built-in to additional home audio companies with this announcement, starting with all Bose smart speakers and soundbars in the coming months. More brands are likely to be added to this growing list.