Google released the beta version of its latest mobile operating system a week later than originally planned, with improvements focused on privacy, communication and connectivity management.

In a blog, Android Engineering VP Dave Burke said Android 11 beta offers new controls of location tracking, updates to the way messages are displayed and new media management capabilities, among other changes.

Google’s focus on location features follows growing criticism of its practices in the field. The updates offer one-time permissions requiring apps to seek approval each time they access location, camera or microphone functions. Access is automatically disabled on dormant services.

The beta also places all new conversations from multiple messaging apps in one place, with a feature allowing certain chats to be prioritised. Adding to this is Bubbles, a set-up enabling users to respond to messages without switching platforms which also offers text and emoji suggestions.

Google also added more capabilities to its existing power button-based control function, while the media update focuses on enabling access to multiple content-playing devices.

The beta is available on Pixel 2 models and upwards from today (11 June), with expansion to other devices scheduled for the upcoming weeks.