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Google promises your devices will work better together

Google is taking some pages out of Apple’s playbook.

image of a laptop, smartwatch, smartphone, tablet, and tv representing Android devices working together better
Image: Google

As an Android user, do you ever get the feeling that things just work better together on the Apple side of things? Devices pair easier, setup goes smoother, and switching between devices is seamless. Well, Google promises that it’s going to improve things for Android users, with some huge feature updates over 2022.

A total of 13 software features were announced at CES 2022. Those include the ability to mirror your Android messaging apps on your Chromebook and Fast Pair for Bluetooth headphones that will auto-switch between devices, a la AirPods fast switching.

Fast Pair will also come to smart home devices, using the Matter standard; an open-source connectivity standard that over 200 companies (and most of the industry-standard makers) had a hand in creating.

Fast Pair currently only works on Android phones, but it’s coming to everything. First to Matter smart home devices, then to Chromebooks, then to Google TV and Android TV, then to PC. Google is working with HP, Acer, and Intel to enable the last point, which will enable Fast Pair to sync messages and share files between Android and PC.

Android will eventually get Spatial Audio support. And your Chromebook and Android devices will know which device you’re using and auto-switch your Bluetooth between them. If that all sounds familiar, it is. Apple already does this with its own ecosystem, and it’s important that Google catches up.

Google also promises that you’ll be able to use your Wear OS smartwatch to unlock your Chromebook, Android tablet, or phone later this year. Your Android phone will be able to set up your Chromebook, unlock your BMW, share that car key with friends and family, and more devices will have in-built Chromecast support.

It’s almost as if someone at Google looked at what works in Apple’s ecosystem, and said: “We want that.” It’s about time too, with Google treating Chrome OS and Android as separate things, when they’re not, not really.

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