Google Stadia update brings 5.1 surround sound and an on-screen keyboard

A lot of people are turning to video streaming and games these days to while their time or to keep sane while secluded at home. The latter, however, most often requires you to have the hardware needed to play the titles you want, be it a console or a worthy PC gaming rig. If not, your next best option is to have the game streamed. Fortunately, Google hasn't yet let up on improving Stadia and has just pushed out a small but still important batch of updates.

Things have admittedly settled down when it comes to the nascent game streaming market, partly because of the worldwide COVID-19 situation. That doesn't mean the market has come to standstill but it may have become harder for Google to work on Stadia on its end, one of the disadvantages of a platform that relies on remote resources. In contrast, you can simply buy and download a Steam or Epic game and be on your happy way, that is if you have the hardware for it in the first place.

Today's Stadia update isn't monumental but audiophiles will probably appreciate that 5.1 surround sound is coming at long last. Along with 4K streaming, these two were heavily advertised as some of the perks of Stadia, delivering quality that would normally require a beefy computer. Now you can have that even on your phone but you'll need a Pro subscription to experience it.

Stadia is meant to be playable on any device but those devices don't always have the same input controls. When you're playing in a PC browser, you can easily make use of a keyboard to type things. In the latest update, you don't even need that as an on-screen keyboard will be available when you have a gamepad connected. When you're on mobile, you'll also get a notification when the quality of your connection degrades.

Stadia is still pretty limited in terms of its geographical availability but Google has opened up the platform to new subscribers. It has even thrown in two months of free Pro subscription to help gamers get by. Unfortunately, its roster of titles is still on the low side, one of the biggest criticisms hurled at it.