TL;DR

  • The Google CES 2022 event saw the announcement of Fast Pair support coming to Chromebooks, Android TV, and Matter-enabled connected devices.
  • The update will let you set up a Chromebook using an Android phone.
  • Later this year, you will be able to use digital car keys and remote commands for your car. This will come first to vehicles from BMW and Volvo.

As part of CES 2022, Google has announced a bevy of features that are mostly centered around boosting interconnectivity between its own operating systems as well as reducing friction between connected peripherals and smart hubs.

Additionally, the company is focusing on improving the connected car experience through a series of feature updates including but not limited to digital car keys and Google Assistant-based commands.

Google CES 2022: Fast Pair everything

Google Fast Pair with Android TV

Google’s quick-connect service for headphones has been slowly and steadily gaining traction ever since it was announced in 2017. Using a combination of the Bluetooth Low Energy protocol and location services, Fast Pair makes it easy to discover and seamlessly pair devices like headphones with your Android phone. The feature is functionally similar to seamless pairing and sharing of AirPods between iOS and Mac devices.

Read more: The best true wireless earbuds

Now, as part of its CES 2022 announcements, Google is planning to bring Fast Pair to Google TV and other Android TV devices. Expected to roll out in the coming months, the new feature should let you quickly pair headphones or true wireless earphones to your Android TV-based smart TV. Additionally, Fast Pair for headphones is also expected to make its way to Chromebooks in the coming weeks.

Building on the inter-connectivity theme, Google is also including the ability to switch audio streams. Think switching audio streams from a tablet to an Android phone or vice-versa without needing to change the device pairing settings. The feature will be available on Android tablets, phones, and Chromebooks.

Let’s set up your Chromebook

Later this year, it will be possible to set up a Chromebook using a paired Android device. We expect the feature to work similarly to Android TV-based devices. You’ll be able to transfer account and Wi-Fi information over Bluetooth during the setup process.

The cross-platform integration is taking a step beyond just sharing of paired audio devices. Google says, in the coming months, users will be able to view and respond to messages and chats from phones without the need for additional apps. Users will also be able to view and share photos and videos from an Android phone to a Chromebook using the Camera Roll on the Phone Hub.

Fast Pair Matter enabled devices

Alongside Chromebooks and Android devices, Google is also bringing support for Fast Pair to Matter-enabled devices. This should go a long way towards reducing friction when adding a freshly connected device to your smart home.

While Apple users have long been able to unlock their phones and laptops using an Apple Watch, the same hasn’t been an option for users on Google’s platform. That is set to change with trusted unlocking coming to Chromebooks and Android phones. The feature will let a paired Wear OS smartwatch unlock your device.

Connected vehicles get a boost

Lyft Driver app in Android Auto

On the theme of unlocking devices, Google is also announcing support for digital car keys for a selection of BMW vehicles. When it rolls out, it will require the use of a phone with Ultra-Wideband support. Additionally, it will also be possible to remotely share keys with trusted family or friends.

Looking to integrate your car into your smart home? That’s coming too. Limited to Volvo vehicles at first, users will be able to adjust thermostat settings as well as lock or unlock the car. They’ll even be able to check the battery status once the feature rolls out later in Spring.

Upcoming upgrades to Android Auto and infotainment systems powered by the Android Automotive OS will boost the number of supported apps. Those using Android Auto will be able to view and accept rides using services such as Lyft and Kakao Mobility. Meanwhile, video entertainment apps such as YouTube will be accessible on the in-car display while parked. That latter is once again limited to Volvo cars at launch.

There’s a lot to look forward to here for users fully invested in Google’s ecosystem!

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