Google Makes It Easier to Link Android Devices to PCs, Smart Home Gadgets, Cars – PCMag

At CES today, Google highlighted several ways it’s working to more tightly connect the Android OS to smart home devices and other operating systems, including Windows.

With Google’s Phone Hub on Chromebooks, you can already respond to chat notifications, access Do Not Disturb, find your phone, and browse recent Chrome tabs. But later this year, Google’s Phone Hub will also let you access chat apps from your Android phone on your Chromebook, as well your Camera Roll.

For those who purchase a new Chromebook this year, Google promises easy setup and access to stored data using an Android phone, like Wi-Fi logins. Got a Wear OS smartwatch? Use it to unlock paired Chromebooks and Android devices in the coming months.

If you have a Windows PC and an Android phone, meanwhile, you’ll be able to use Google’s Fast Pair feature to automatically set up Bluetooth accessories, sync text messages, and share files with Microsoft’s Nearby Share. Look for it later this year on Intel-powered Acer and HP PCs.

Google is also extending Fast Pair to TVs and smart home devices. And in a few weeks, Chromebooks will be able to automatically detect Fast Pair-enabled headphones.

For those who use Bluetooth headphones between devices, Google will also roll out intelligent switching on supported devics in the next few months (something you can already do with Apple’s AirPods).

“So if you’re wearing headphones to watch a movie on your Android tablet and you receive a phone call, the movie will pause and the headphone audio will automatically switch to your Android phone and then switch back to the movie when you’re done,” Google says.

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Want to watch that movie on the big screen without disturbing anyone? “In the coming months, you’ll be able to set up your headphones for when you need to watch quietly with your Google TV or Android TV OS device at home,” Google says. (Some devices, like the Chromecast with Google TV, can already pair with wireless headphones and other Bluetooth devices.)

Also on the casting front: Google is expanding built-in Chromecast support to more devices, starting with Bose smart speakers and soundbars in the coming months.

Finally, Google teased some new features for select car brands, like using a Samsung or Pixel phone to unlock BMWs and remotely sharing digital keys with people on more Android phones and cars. Volvos will also get Google Assistant-based remote feature support, like using your voice to warm up and cool down your car, lock and unlock, and more.

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