Google unveils Android 11 Beta for secure chats, device management

The Beta version is available on Pixel 2 and above Google phones, and other devices in the coming weeks, the company said in a statement late Wednesday.
Google Pixel 2
Google Pixel 2
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Google has released much-anticipated Android 11 in Beta that offers Google Meet to everyone and several new ways to not only connect better with people but also securely control devices and media.

Google earlier postponed Android 11 Beta release so that people could focus on important discussions about "racial justice". 

The Beta version is available on Pixel 2 and above Google phones, and other devices in the coming weeks, the company said in a statement late Wednesday.

In Android 11, Google Meet is now available to everyone and can support larger meetings, and family mode for Duo will let people doodle on calls and add masks and effects, helping you express yourself in new and fun ways. 

"Android 11 will move all of your conversations across multiple messaging apps to a dedicated space in the notification section. This makes it easy to see, respond to and manage your conversations all in one place," said Dave Burke, VP, Android Engineering at Google.

The key conversations show up on your always-on display and can even "break through" a Do Not Disturb setting. 

Android 11 also introduces Bubbles, a new feature to help you respond and engage with important conversations without switching back and forth between your current task and the messaging app. 

One can open a bubble for your conversation right from the notification and multitask without missing a thing. 

"In addition, when you type using Gboard in Android 11, you'll get relevant and automatic suggestions for emoji and text," said Burke.

"Android 11 makes it faster and easier to access and control your connected devices," he added.

You can now quickly access and control your smart devices in one place by long pressing on the power button. Adjusting the temperature, turning on the lights or unlocking the front door can now be done with a tap without opening multiple apps. 

"We're also introducing new media controls in Android 11, making it quick and convenient to switch the device your audio or video content is playing on. It is now easier to bring your music with you from your headphones, to speakers, or even to your TV," said Google.

Google said that Android 11 has even more granular controls for the most sensitive permissions. 

With one-time permissions you can grant apps access to your microphone, camera or location, just that one time. 

The next time the app needs access to these sensors, it will have to ask you for permission again.

In addition, if you haven't used an app for an extended period of time, we will "auto-reset" all of the permissions associated with that app and notify you of the same. You can always choose to re-grant the app permissions the next time you open the app. 

Android 11 also brings features like screen recorder, updated Voice Access, improved performance, and an improved share menu that makes it easier to share content from your phone, said Google.

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