Google's Improved Fast Pair Feature Will Make You Feel Like An Apple User

Google wants to make it as easy to use its devices together as it is to use Apple devices.

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A illustration by Google for its CES 2022 announcements
Google’s Fast Pair is coming to more devices, helping bring together more Android and Chromebook devices into one cohesive ecosystem.
Image: Google

If you’re deep into Google’s platforms—and I mean, you’ve got an Android phone, a Chromebook, and a Google TV set up in the living room—Google’s CES 2022 announcements might sound like a payoff to you for sticking with the ecosystem. The company revealed details for some of its most anticipated features, including a timeline for when its seamless Fast Pair feature will come to more devices. It’s also introducing new ways for Android to interact with Chromebooks.

Fast Pair is a Bluetooth LE feature that lets you instantly connect earbuds and headphones to Android phones without diving into your Bluetooth settings. Google teased last year that it would bring Fast Pair to more devices, and now we know when to expect the rollout.

A photo of Android TV showing a dialog box asking the user to pair a set of Pixel Buds
Google’s bringing its Fast Pair pairing abilities to Android TV OS and Google TV devices.
Image: Google
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In the coming weeks, you’ll be able to pair any Fast Pair-enabled headphones to a Chromebook, making it easier to switch between your phone and laptop. Later this year, Google also plans to offer Fast Pair abilities for headphones and Google TV/Android TV OS devices, which will make it easier to watch TV while everyone else is sleeping.

Once the switch is flipped on the new Matter smart home standard for your home devices, Google plans to enable the Fast Pair ability for any compatible accessories paired through the Google Home app. The company also plans to use Fast Pair to help bridge the gap between Android smartphones and Windows PCs, allowing you to set up Bluetooth accessories, sync text messages, and share files through Nearby Share. Google says it’s working with computer manufacturers like Acer and HP to make this possible.

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Maybe It’s Time For a Chromebook

Later this year, you’ll be able to set up a new Chromebook with your Android phone.
Gif: Google
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Along with the Fair Pair abilities announced above, Google will introduce the ability to quickly set up a Chromebook just using an Android phone. And if you’re out shooting photos on your phone but want to get some editing done on your laptop when you come back in, you’ll soon be able to grab those photos from, say, your Pixel 6 and drop them into Chrome OS through the Camera Roll on the Phone Hub app. It’s a feature that’s reminiscent of the magic of Apple’s AirDrop between macOS and the iPhone. And Google is working on a way for you to view and respond to different chat apps on your phone through the Chromebook without having to set up the corresponding Android app on Chrome OS.

Wear OS users will also get some Apple Watch-like unlocking abilities. You’ll be able to use your smartwatch to unlock your Chromebook, as well as your Android phone and tablet. All of these features should show up sometime this year, with the watch unlock feature expected “in the coming months.”