On the hardware front, Google expected to be light this year at CES, but the firm has a number of new software capabilities to reveal. Among them are some significant upgrades to its Fast Pair service, which has previously focused on earbud pairing. A number of new features appear to position the feature as a sort of uniting platform for Google devices and OS systems.
In a blog post, the company writes, “We’re continuing our work with partners to extend Fast Pair’s functionality beyond audio connectivity with the wearables, headphones, speakers, and cars, and extending it to TVs and smart home devices, so you can instantly start using all the devices in your life.”
The updates come as Google pushes for wider adoption of the Matter standard, which aims to provide a unified platform for connected smart home products. The first is to improve the Chromebook functionality, which includes a fast headphone connection in the ChromeOS. In a few weeks, that functionality will be available.
Owners of the new Chromebooks will be able to set up their machines using an Android handset later this year, rapidly transferring items like Google logins and Wi-Fi passwords. In addition to the ability to unlock the Chromebooks using an Android device, Google will add the option to do so with Wear OS as it works to create a competitive wearable operating system.
In the coming months, Fast Pair will pair headphones with Google TV and Android TV OS devices, while Android’s Matter support will help get smart home devices up and running rapidly. Google’s headphones will also include auto-switching, allowing users to move between Android devices.
Google aims to compete directly with Apple’s headphone offers that will also arrive in the coming months, along with spatial audio features. Google is also collaborating with third-party manufacturers to integrate the Chromecast capabilities into their products, beginning with the Bose soundbars and smart speakers. On the hardware front, Google expected to be light this year at CES, but the firm has a number of new software capabilities to reveal.