Updates have been made to everything from the keyboard to the Recorder app with the company’s most recent Pixel Feature Drop.
For its Pixel phones and other mobile devices, Google is releasing a plethora of new capabilities, some of which are driven by the company’s recently developed Gemini Nano AI model. On Wednesday, the update started to go out to Pixel phones that were compatible.
Numerous updates improve upon already-available Google features, such as the Recorder app and Photo Unblur, which sharpens older photos and is only available on Pixel devices. As the first phone to run Gemini Nano, Google is promoting the Pixel 8 Pro, and it’s starting with the Recorder app and the Smart Reply predictive text function. The upgrade is yet another example of how Google is incorporating AI into its mobile devices, something it highlighted at the October Pixel 8 and 8 Pro presentation.
Without having an internet connection, the Pixel 8 Pro will be able to summarize conversations via the Recorder app. A new iteration of Smart Reply, which according to Google’s blog post should offer “high quality responses with conversational awareness,” is also powered by Gemini Nano. Currently available in developer preview just on WhatsApp, the new Gemini-powered Smart Reply will soon be available on other apps as well.
With this update, the Pixel 8 Pro will also get Video Boost, an option that allows video footage to be sent to the cloud for more thorough processing and improved brightness. Although Google first revealed the function in October, their flagship smartphone has only just received it.
Additional highlights include the ability to use the Pixel 6 and later as a computer webcam when connected via USB; improved sharpening of images of cats and dogs in addition to people; photo previews on the Pixel Fold’s outer screen while using the inner screen as a viewfinder in the camera app; and suggested replies when screening calls.
With this upgrade, Google’s Password Manager will identify accounts automatically that support passkeys—a novel kind of login credential that authorizes logins using both your physical device and biometric authentication. It’s a more secure substitute for the password, which is expected to gain traction in 2023.
Some of the modifications in Google’s most recent version are a direct copy of what Samsung and Apple have done. For instance, when a phone is sent in for repair, Google’s Repair Mode stops personal information from being accessible. It sounds a lot like Samsung’s Maintenance Mode, which debuted in 2022 worldwide. additionally be able to use the watch to unlock the Pixel phone when it is close by—a capability that has been present on the Apple Watch for years. Additionally similar to Apple’s Continuity Camera option for the Mac and iPhone is the previously stated webcam capability.
Although Google often updates Pixel devices with new capabilities, this version is more feature-rich than previous releases. Maybe this is an indication that, with a larger range of products under its belt that includes watches, headphones, phones, and more, Google is putting more of an emphasis on Pixel-only functionality. With Google, Qualcomm, and Samsung all announcing AI-related smartphone announcements in the previous three months, the upgrade also represents yet another indication that AI will play a significant role in smartphones going forward.