Google announces several new Android features in time for the holidays

New features include Family Bell, additional widgets and more

Android is getting a suite of new features for the holidays.

The first of these, ‘Family Bell,’ lets you and your family stay on track with your schedules. The feature works with your Android phone, home speaker, smart display and notifications will alert you and your family throughout the day.

Google has also added three new widgets — one for Google Play Books, another for YouTube Music and a third for Google Photos — that put your family on the Home screen.

Further, there are new Memories in Google Photos that help you look at previous holidays like New Year’s Eve or Halloween as well as birthdays and graduations. You can choose to rename, personalize, correct or remove these Memories.

Additionally, Android Auto is letting users reply to messages with quick smart reply options, so you can just tap on the dashboard. There’s also a new always-on play button on the Home screen, and you’ll soon be able to voice search for music in your Android Auto media apps.

Another feature Google announced is the ability to unlock your BMW cars with your Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro and Galaxy S21’s digital car key.

Additionally, there’s a new Gboard update that lets you combine emojis, like combining a ‘pupper’ emoji with a sad face. This feature is available for Gboard Beta users today and will come to everyone else in the coming weeks.

Gif of a cursor selecting the pleading face emoji and the dog emoji to create a pleading dog face sticker

You can check out the full list of new December features in the Google blog post.