The Google System Updates for January 2023 include an updated QR code scanner with support for Matter devices, a revamp of Play Games profiles and what they’re used for, and some other tweaks.
While major changes to Android used to typically arrive with monthly and yearly Android updates, Google has gradually put systems in place to make it possible to update phones with nothing more than the Play Store. For example, new features can arrive through updates to Google Play Services, the Play Store, and Android’s ever-expanding monthly “Play System Updates.” Each month, Google outlines the new features in this key trio, which the company refers to as the “Google System.”
The easiest way to check whether you need to update Google Play Services on your phone is to follow a direct link to the app’s Play Store listing and update from there, if available. To update the Play Store, tap your avatar in the corner, then “Settings.” Under the “About” section, you’ll see an option to “Update Play Store.” Meanwhile, Google Play system updates can be found through the Settings app, under About phone > Android version > Google Play system update.
Things are starting simply for January 2023’s Google System Updates, with Play Games getting an overhaul of its user profiles. No specifics are shared, but the company lists the update as being for both “Phone” and “PC,” suggesting that this is related to the recent release of Play Games for PC. Arriving soon as part of Google Play Services version 23.01, the new Play Games profiles will support more “users and use cases.”
Update 1/18: According to the latest patch notes, an upcoming update to Google’s Password Manager — which syncs your credentials between Android and Chrome devices — will allow you to add notes to your passwords. This can be useful for when you have multiple accounts on a website or if there are extra steps you’d like to remember.
Google Wallet is set to get a small update, with the “mobile web experience” getting some visual changes.
Elsewhere, Google is updating Android’s built-in QR code scanner to pick up two key features. For starters, you’ll be able to choose to scan a QR code from a picture you’ve already taken, rather than solely relying on the live camera feed. Additionally, the QR scanner will be able to read codes for Matter devices and for the UPI code system, commonly used for payments in India.
Alongside these new features, Google has also noted that the January 2023 Google Play system update, and latest versions of Play Store and Play Services all include “critical fixes” for phones and smart watches.
Google Play System updates for January 2023
- [Phone, Wear OS] Bug fixes for Account Management, Security & Privacy, System Management & Diagnostics, and Utilities related services.
- [Phone, PC] Expanding the range of users and use cases supported by the Play Games profile.
Google Play Store
- New Features to help you discover the Apps & Games you love.
- Optimizations allowing faster and more reliable download and installation.
- Continuous improvements to Play Protect to keep your device safe.
- Various performance optimizations, bug fixes and improvements to security, stability and accessibility.
Security & Privacy
- [Phone] Password manager helps you save different passwords to your Google account and lets you use them across various websites and devices. With the new change, you will be able to add notes to your existing and new passwords.
- [Phone] Visual and infrastructure updates to Wallet mobile web experience.
- [Phone] New developer features for Google and third-party app developers to support Device Connectivity, and Machine Learning & AI related developer services in their apps.
- [Phone] Update the platform QR scanner with the ability to select an existing photo and add support for handling Matter and UPI codes from OEM cameras.
- [Phone] Updates to System Management, and Usability services that improve Device Connectivity, Device Performance, Network Usage, Privacy, Security, Stability, and Usability.
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