Apple has always worked hard to make integration between its devices seamless and easy, from using the Messages app to engage in the same conversations on all your devices, unlocking your MacBook or iPhone with an Apple Watch, or copying text on your Mac and pasting it into an app on your iPhone. Fone or what is known as Handoff or Universal Clipboard, everything works well, easy and smooth. Google announced last week at CES 2022 that its biggest plan for 2022 is to make all its Android devices and accessories work better together, and it also announced some interesting ideas, most of which sound very familiar to users of Apple devices.

Quick pairing

Google announced Fast Pair last year to help people quickly and easily pair the Google Pixel Buds and other supported wireless earbuds, but that's a feature AirPods have had since their introduction in 2016.

This year, Google plans to expand Fast Pair to support other devices, such as Chromebooks, Google TV, and other devices running Android TV OS, and it will also switch between audio seamlessly.

One of the interesting things about expanding the quick pairing feature is that it will also extend to Matter-enabled smart home devices, so Android users will be able to quickly pair these devices with their Google Home. That might give it a slight edge over HomeKit, which still often requires camera-scanning of codes, but we'll have to wait and see what exactly Google does on the matter.

Unlock with a Google Wear OS watch

It's been possible for a while to unlock a Chromebook with an Android phone, and it's really one of the few things Apple doesn't offer between the iPhone and the Mac. Instead, Apple chose to focus on the Apple Watch for this, and Google will do the same with paired Wear OS watches.

It's not entirely clear how that will work, and it may not be automatic like the Apple Watch, and the image at the top shows a pattern code entered on the Wear OS watch before unlocking the Pixel phone.

car key

Google has been a bit late when it comes to digital car keys, as Apple added it in the iOS 13.6 update, while Google only started adopting the feature last year, and announced it would be available for Pixel 6 and Samsung Galaxy S21 phones in December.

This is still, for the most part, limited to owners of BMW, which was one of the early adopters of Apple CarPlay, and did not adopt Android Auto until 2020.

At the moment, Google's car key feature still works only via NFC, but the company announced that ultra-wideband support for compatible phones will come later this year, while Apple added this in the iOS 15 update, but this is still a small matter. Since its support has been limited to only a very few cars, the BMW iX 2022 is supposed to be the first to support Google Android Auto keys.

Access phone data from Chromebook

This year, Android phone users will also be able to do more with their Chromebooks, although Google is taking a slightly different approach.

While Apple relies on its own iCloud servers to keep things like messages and photos synced between devices, Google will sync more directly with Android phones. Rather than primarily cloud-based sharing.

This is how Apple's Messages app works when dealing with SMS text messages since they can only be sent and received from the iPhone, but because iMessages travel through Apple's servers, they can be delivered and synced with any device.

The upside to Google's approach is that it may also apply to third-party chat apps, not just Google Messages.

Do you think that Google will provide a more general and comprehensive experience than Apple in terms of seamless integration between its devices? Tell us in the comments.



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