Sunday, July 21, 2024

Google has a few surprises just for Samsung’s new foldables


A person holding the open Samsung Galaxy Z Fold6, showing the screen.Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Enthusiasts eyeing the fresh slate of Samsung foldable phones are in for some extra software goodies from Google. The company today announced a handful of new tricks for the Galaxy Z Fold 6, Galaxy Z Flip 6, and the new Galaxy smartwatches, too.

First is context-aware Gemini. On the new foldable phones, when you summon the Gemini assistant, it will identify what’s happening on the screen and will make suggestions accordingly. For example, when watching a video, Gemini will push something like “ask about this video.”

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Notably, Apple also has a similar trick planned for iOS 18 and Siri, thanks to the Apple Intelligence toolkit, that would explain to users what’s unfolding on their screen. According to a detailed research paper from Apple, the OS-level integration will not only understand text and images, but will also offer guidance with buttons and an accessibility-focused approach, among other conveniences.


In Gemini’s case, it will also make the best of the large-screen real estate of Samsung’s latest foldables. On the Galaxy Z Fold 6, for example, the Gemini window will not only appear as a floating window, but will also support split-screen mode.

At the moment, Gemini is available in over 200 countries and can understand 29 languages, but there are plans to add more languages into the mix soon. Just a few weeks ago, Google also added nine Indian languages to the Gemini library, while Google Translate gained support for over 110 new languages, thanks to crucial help from AI.

Next is Circle to Search, a feature that makes it dramatically easier to look up information on the web by just drawing a circle around or highlighting text or images on the screen. Circle to Search is making its way to the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and the Galaxy Z Flip 6 and is also adding some new capabilities in the coming months.


Google says Circle to Search will soon help users with tasks like scanning QR and bar codes. It will also help with making sense of what it calls “symbolic maths.” It seems mathematics will be cool again in 2024. In June, Apple wowed us with Math Notes at WWDC 2024, a tool that lets users simply jot down mathematical problems on the screen and get the solution.

Talking about exploiting the screen real estate, Galaxy Z Fold 6 users will soon be able to watch YouTube in the cool multiview mode. This feature lets users watch up to four different video streams at the same time. It’s a tool that is tailor-made for watching live sports. So far, YouTube multiview has been limited to smart TVs and streaming devices such as Chromecast or one of Amazon’s Fire TV sticks.


Finally, we have the new Galaxy Watch 7 and the Galaxy Watch Ultra. Well, they are not getting anything new from Google, unlike the foldable phones. However, they will be the first smartwatches to get a taste of Wear OS 5, the latest iteration of Google’s Android-tethered operating system for smartwatches.

Digital Trends is on the ground for Samsung’s Unpacked event in Paris and will provide in-depth coverage of all the new foldable phones, smartwatches, and the fancy new Galaxy Ring. Whether you want to see our hands-on impressions of the Fold 6 or our first thoughts on the Watch Ultra, we’ve got you covered.

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