Google Photos’ portrait blur feature on Android will soon be able to blur backgrounds on a wider range of photos, including photos of pets, food, and plants. This is one of a series of updates to Google’s apps and services on Android, which also includes tweaks to Google TV, a new screen time widget, and wider deployment of Gboard features to help improve your grammar.
Google Photos is used to blur the background of people’s photos. But with this update, Pixel users and Google One users will be able to use it on more objects. Portrait blur can also be applied to existing photos as a post-processing effect.
Gboard keyboard’s grammar correction features will also be more widely promoted after they were previously only available on Pixel phones. Google says the feature works on the device and adds an existing spell check feature. Gboard is also updating, adding 2,000 emoji mashups, combining two existing emojis into stickers that can be published in various messaging apps and online services.
The Live Transcribe accessibility app, designed to provide a fast and convenient speech-to-text service for the hearing impaired, is currently being updated to work offline. Google says this should be helpful for conversations that take place in places where there are problems with reliable network connectivity, like subways and airplanes. All Android phones can use Live Transcribe and come pre-installed on Pixel and Samsung phones.
There are many small upgrades coming as well. Google Assistant is getting some parking features that let you pay, check your parking status, and extend your time with just your voice. It works through integration with ParkMobile, available in more than 400 cities in the US. Meanwhile, Android’s “Share Near” feature is being updated to share files with more than one person at a time, and Google TV is getting a new “Highlights tab” designed to provide entertainment news and reviews based on the movies and shows you follow.
Finally, Google is releasing a new screen time widget on Android that aims to provide an at-a-glance view of the apps you spend time with during the day. But as with Google’s updates to its Messages app, it seems safe to assume that these features will be available in the next few weeks.