Google starts rolling out its latest Android Nougat update today. Nougat 7.1.1 brings more inclusive emojis, in-app GIF messaging and navigational shortcuts to qualifying Android devices.
Previously, Android emojis depicted only male or female characters in certain professions and scenarios. Now, women are better represented. 11 new professional emoji have been added in both male and female versions; 33 pre-existing emoji receive additional opposite-gender representation. This creates female emojis with different skin tones performing activities like wielding a wrench, farming, welding or lifting weights, and male emojis getting haircuts.
Google is also making it easier to communicate via GIF. The new update brings a GIF keyboard to Google Allo, Messenger and Hangouts. Perhaps this is a cue from Apple's dramatic image-heavy update to the Messages app in iOS 10.
Lastly, the 7.1.1 update brings navigational shortcuts to the home screen. While tapping an icon opens the app, a long press option has been added to provide shortcuts to certain app-specific actions. For example, a long press on Google Maps prompts options to navigate directly to saved work and home addresses; a long press on YouTube prompts shortcuts to trending content, subscriptions and search functions. This feature has applications similar to Apple's 3D Touch technology.
These small but noticeable changes will arrive on select Nexus devices (6, 5X, 6P, 9, Player), Pixel and Pixel XL phones, the Pixel C tablet, Android One and devices enrolled in the Android Beta program. The over the air software update begins today and will continue over the next several weeks.
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