At Google I/O 2023, Android 14’s wallpaper customization steals the spotlight

In preparation for today’s Google I/O event, I prepared a list of potential updates the tech giant would announce for Android 14, like updates to accessibility, security, and maybe a new health app. But at Google I/O, the brand barely touched on any of those elements.

Instead, they wanted you to know that they’ve really got you covered when it comes to wallpapers. However long you think Google took to talk about their new wallpapers, they took longer. Almost five whole minutes. Here are the three biggest updates:

  1. Emoji wallpaper: Pick a handful of emojis and a color and the OS will generate a mosaic of them. Then you can tap the emojis and they will jiggle. Meh.

  1. Cinematic wallpaper: Select a photo and AI will create a “paralax” effect that separates the foreground and the background for a 3D look.

  2. Generative AI wallpaper (coming this fall): Select “create a wallpaper with AI” and a series of prompts will use Google’s text-to-image diffusion models to create a lockscreen that’s unique to you.

In addition to new customization options for lockscreens, like style personalization for your clock and shortcuts, they also snuck in a mention of a feature called Magic Compose that will enable you to choose “how you want to sound” in texts. Magic Compose can make you sound happier, for example, or even like Shakespeare, which sounds way cool and is a fun tie-in to Google’s Bard AI. I would have been more interested in five minutes on that feature, to be honest. Alas.

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