Google has launched a minor Android update bringing along the usual stability and performance improvements, but also making some of the features from their Pixel line available to everyone. Key features of the update include revisions to emoji that promote gender equality, updates to the Google Keyboard, and more launch options on popular apps.
Earlier this year Google announced an effort to promote gender equality through emoji across their products. Before the update male emojis had options like doctor, police, and detective, while female emojis only included options like a princess, getting a haircut, or a bride. The new set of emoji features professions available equally for men and women, as well as various skin tones. The set originally launched with Pixel phones, but now they are available for all users running Android 7.1.1
Other features included in the update is the ability to send GIFs right from your Android keyboard. For now, it works with supported Google apps like Hangouts, Google Messenger, and the Allo smart messaging app.
The last big feature included, and the one that will probably get the most use, is new launcher actions for popular apps. Long pressing an app on the home screen will bring up a secondary menu of app-specific features. For YouTube, this might include bringing up trending videos or your subscriptions. In Messenger, you'll be able to go directly to an existing conversation, for example. Other apps like Google Maps and Twitter will also receive launch options soon.
Rolling out over the next several weeks, Google devices will receive the update over the air (OTA). The full list of supported devices includes the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus Player, Pixel C and General Mobile 4G (Android One). Devices in the Android Beta Program will also receive the update. If you don’t want to wait, there’s also the option to download full system images and OTAs packages directly from Google.