It’s time for the Pixel’s 12th Feature Drop, and by the looks of it, Google has not disappointed. The tech giant revealed a slew of updates and features – including some that it teased at its October event – that are slated to come to its Pixel 4a to Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro devices, as well as its Pixel Watch.
The revealed features include free VPN though Google One, speaker labels for the Recorder app, Clear Calling, a new privacy and security settings hub, and more, and will be available from today. Let us tackle them one by one.
1. Free VPN with Google One
Google is working for safer surfing of the internet with its VPN service, which will come to Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro by Google One. It will not cost you anything extra – which means that you do not have to subscribe to Google’s $9.99 / month 2TB plan. The free VPN service will secure your browsing activity both on the web browser and in apps, no matter where you are, and can be enabled via the Google One app.
2. Clear Calling
Don’t you just hate it when you are on an important call and the background noise continues to be a hindrance? Well, Google has taken note of your concerns and has brought forth a solution in the form of Clear Calling. It was in beta since October, and the AI-powered feature works to reduce background noise and brings your voice to the forefront instead for a better calling experience, “all thanks to Tensor G2.”
This feature is now available for all owners of the Pixel 7 series, and will not be coming to the Pixel 6 series (uses the first-gen custom Tensor chipset). So you need to get your hands on the latest lineup of Google’s flagship phones to access this feature.
3. Speaker Labels come to Recorder
With the new Speaker Labels, it will be easier for you to keep track of your recorded conversations. Coming to all devices that are Pixel 6 or above, Google informed that this will let Recorder to now identify and label each speaker, while inserting line breaks when the speaker changes.
Labels will be automatically assigned to multiple people in the recording – thus differentiating between them – while the user can re-label speakers once the recording is complete. This is a rather useful feature, especially for journalists when they go to cover an event or a press conference, for example, but one caveat is that they will need a device among the Pixel 7 lineup to access the feature.
4. Security and Privacy
Google is doubling down on user security and privacy with a new hub. Bringing their privacy and security settings under one roof, the company will make it easier for users to protect their phone, accounts and passwords with new action cards. These will show users if any of their accounts are at risk and suggest steps to “enhance” their privacy and security.
5. Fitbit Sleep profiles
Coming to the Pixel Watch, the Fitbit sleep profiles will analyze your sleep and provide insights into your sleep habits. A monthly Sleep animal will be assigned to each sleeper to depict their sleeping patterns, and with these insights and profiles, users will be able to better track their sleeping habits and patterns and adjust accordingly. It is now available on Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.
6. New Wallpapers and Tiles
New wallpapers have arrived to celebrate International Day of People with Disabilities. Inspired by real-life stories and interactions, these wallpapers are coming to the Pixel phone alongside new Tiles for Google’s Watch. Pixel Watch gets new Wear Tiles for Weather and Contacts, and a Fall Detection feature will come to the smartwatch next year. Users can also pin up to five contacts from their Favorites, and you can call or text them with just a tap.
Apart from these, spatial audio with head tracking is coming to Pixel Buds Pro in January, when paired with a Pixel phone, and a more powerful search and Voice Message Transcription in Message on Pixel 4a and newer Pixel phones. Other upcoming features include the addition of more languages to Live Translate – Arabic, Persian, Swedish, Vietnamese and Danish – as well as allowing Grammer Check on Gboard in French.