As part of the September 2023 Google System Updates, Android is set to gain better support for using a PIN with the FIDO2 security standard, among other improvements.
Update: Ahead of the expected October launch of Android 14, Google is now discussing the addition of stylus and trackpad gestures for Android’s built-in web browser.
While most of the flashier changes for our smartphones often arrive as part of annual Android OS updates or quarterly QPRs or Feature Drops, Google is constantly rolling out improvements and new features through the Play Store. These range from “Play System updates” that affect core OS components to updates for apps like Play Services, the Play Store, and more. The company collectively refers to these as the “Google System.”
Each month, Google publishes (and gradually extends) a list of changes included in that month’s updates. We’ll do our best to keep an eye on these changes and explain the most important ones here. So be sure to check back throughout September.
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.
In the first wave of updates for September 2023, Google has shared that Android’s support for the FIDO2 security standard is getting updated this month. While FIDO2 (often taking the form of a Titan/Yubikey security key) was originally most commonly used for two-factor authentication alongside a password, the tech industry’s recent push for “passkeys” (passwordless login) has made FIDO2 far more prevalent.
With that increased usage comes a need for increased security, and one such solution is to add a PIN to protect your passkey against theft. In the coming weeks, Android is set to support this “Pin Protocol,” but it’s unclear what precisely this will mean.
One explanation is that Android will natively support entering the necessary PIN for a connected FIDO2 security key. Alternatively, since Android 7+ phones can themselves serve as a FIDO2 key, it’s possible this means you’ll be able to add an extra layer of security by requiring a PIN. We’ll likely learn more once Google Play Services version 23.35 rolls out.
Meanwhile, in the same update, Google Wallet is set to gain some minor improvements, including “new email preference settings.” Google Wallet users in Japan should also soon notice a “better card management” experience.
On the Play Store side of things, Google is introducing “a new settings page” that simplifies “survey choices.”
Update 9/19: While Google has not yet released Android 14 (internally known as “U” or “Upside Down Cake”), the latest patch notes make mention of changes to Android’s built-in web browser – Android System WebView – gaining features that only apply to Android 14 and up.
Specifically, the browser (and presumably Chrome for Android as well) is gaining new gestures for those with a trackpad or stylus. No specific gestures were shared, but we assume these will resemble the gestures available on ChromeOS. For example, a three-finger swipe on a Chromebook lets you quickly change tabs.
For everyone else, Google is also introducing a set of keyboard shortcuts for Android System WebView, presumably matching Chrome’s shortcuts on desktop platforms.
Meanwhile, the Play Store will start surfacing video trailers when searching for certain “media & entertainment apps.” Additionally, when installing a new app, Play Protect will perform “real-time threat detection” to ensure your device remains secure and malware-free.
- Improvements to security and privacy and updates for bug fixes.
- New developer features for Google & 3rd party app developers to support functionality related to displaying web content in their apps.
- [Phone, PC, Tablet, Auto, TV] New keyboard shortcuts for productivity.
- [Phone, Tablet] New Stylus Rich Gestures support from Android U+ to improve device usability.
- [Phone, Tablet] Support the standard trackpad gestures on Android U+ for productivity.
Important: Some features may be experimental and available to certain users.
Google Play Store
- [Phone] A new settings page makes it simpler for you to manage your survey choices and preferences.
- [Phone] You’ll see video trailers in some search results for media & entertainment apps.
- [Phone] Google Play Protect install-time protection now performs real-time threat detection for new apps.
Security & Privacy
- [Phone] Adding Pin Protocol support for Fido2 on Android Platform.
- [Phone] New email preference settings in Wallet.
- [Phone] This feature enables better card management in Japan.
- [Auto, PC, Phone, TV, Wear] Updates to system management services that improve Network Usage and Privacy.
- [Phone] Changed terms of service for auto updates in setup screen.
- [Auto] Assistant Controls will now be shown on the Google Terms of Services Screen.
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