Google’s long-awaited iOS 16 Lock Screen widgets have finally arrived. Along with the release of Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS 16, the search giant hinted last month that it would support the iPhone’s newest feature, which allows users to place widgets directly on their phone’s lock screen, providing information and easy access to favorite apps. Google announced that widgets for a number of its top apps, including Search, Maps, Gmail, and others, would be available soon.
Google’s iOS 16 widgets are now available, following the release of updates to the Chrome and Drive apps last week.
Google users can now add Lock Screen widgets to popular apps like Gmail and Google News with the latest set of app updates. However, the two most anticipated widget releases — Search and Maps — are still on the horizon. Moreover, despite the fact that easy access to your daily schedule is one of the better use cases for iOS 16 Lock Screen widgets, Google has yet to announce plans to launch a Google Calendar widget.
The new Gmail widget is available in three different sizes: circular, rectangular, and inline. The first two are intended to appear on the Lock Screen below the clock, while the inline widget appears above as a line of text.
In the case of Gmail, the inline widget will show a shortened date (such as “Wed 7”) followed by the number of messages in your inbox. (If you enjoy stressing out every time you look at your iPhone!) Meanwhile, the rectangular widget displays the number of new messages in each category — such as Social, Updates, or Promotions — to help you determine whether the emails you’ve received are actually important. The smaller, circular widget simply displays the number of new messages you have.
As a rectangular widget, the newly added Google News widget brings short headlines to the Lock Screen. When you tap it, you’ll be taken to the Google News mobile app, where you can read the full story. This one may be difficult to read for those with poor eyesight because it may attempt to cram up to four lines of text into the small space provided. While the blown-up image below shows that clearly, viewing it on a phone screen is more difficult.
Drive and Chrome widgets were released a few days ago. The former includes a rectangular widget for quick access to Drive’s “suggested files,” as well as two circular widgets for searching your files or accessing your Starred files with a tap.
Chrome’s widget includes a circular widget that you can tap to launch Google Search within Chrome — a good workaround until the default Search widget arrives — as well as three others for launching incognito search, voice search, and even Chrome’s “Dino Game,” which appears on the desktop when you’re offline.
The Search and Maps widgets will be available soon. Search, like Chrome, will allow you to launch a Google search from the Lock Screen, including voice searches. But we’re looking forward to the Google Lens and Google Translate widgets that come with it. A lot of Google’s innovation today is focused on Lens, as the company prepares to expand its multi-search experiences that combine text and images for more advanced queries.
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Maps will, of course, be useful to regular communicators who want to see real-time traffic updates and estimated travel times to locations such as your office or home address.
Google hasn’t specified a timeline for the release of its other widgets, but given the frequency of these updates, they should be available soon.