Google March Feature Drop is official, but Pixel owners in the US will have to wait

Google Pixel 8 Pro porcelain colorway

What you need to know

  • Pixel phone users can now upload HDR videos and photos on Instagram.
  • Google’s Circle to Search is coming to Pixel 7 handsets with the new feature drop.
  • First-gen Pixel Watch devices gain all the Pixel Watch 2 exclusive features like Pace training, auto workout modes, and more.

After starting the new year with a bang by dropping a feature drop for its Pixel phones, Google is back with yet another feature drop for Pixel Watch and Pixel phones.

Google wants its Pixel users to take full advantage of HDR when posting photos and videos on Instagram. Users can post 10-bit HDR videos directly on Instagram Reels and Ultra HDR pictures on the social media app. These features will be available through a feature drop for Pixel phones, including the Pixel 7 series, Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro, and Pixel Fold.

Circle to Search, which Google recently introduced, is coming soon to Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. Users can long-press the pixel home button or navigation bar and circle the screen to get to know about an image, text, or video on the screen — all without leaving the app. While it is already available for the Pixel 8 series, it is coming to the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro shortly, notes Google in a shared press release.

Call Screen Hello chip

(Image credit: Google)

Pixel 6 series and above, including the Pixel Fold in the U.S., is getting a nifty feature to Call Screen functionality. The new update introduces a “hello” chip, which users can tap while screening a call. It triggers Google Assistant, which “will then prompt the caller to speak, helping you understand why they’re trying to reach you. “ The Google Assistant will also help notify callers to wait a bit longer if they are unable to screen the call right away.

Pixel phone and Pixel tablet users will now be able to share the app instead of casting the entire screen after the new update. This also applies to casting, recording, or presenting something on a video call. The feature is available to Pixel 5a with 5G and above models, including the Pixel Fold.

The very same devices are getting an update to Fastpair as well. It allows users to pair their previously connected Bluetooth devices with the same account on new devices, which is a neat and convenient feature.

Google Docs recently introduced the ability to convert handwritten annotations written by finger or through a stylus to a document format. Through this update, it will now be available on Android tablets alongside phones running Android 8 version and higher.

Android Tablets are gaining a redesigned toolbar, minimizing the digital keyboard whenever voice input is triggered. It will optimize screen space and further simplify multitasking on large-screen devices. Users on Android tablets can utilize the new feature by updating their Gboard app with version 13.9 and above.

Gboard Voice toolbar

(Image credit: Google)

Meanwhile, the first-gen Pixel Watch users are also in for a treat with the new feature drop. The first-gen Pixel Watch users, in particular, are gaining features like Pace training, heart zone training, and auto workout mode, previously exclusive to the Pixel Watch 2. Goal pace allows users to set a goal pace during their exercises that utilize on-device GPS and power-optimized motion sensors.

The heart zone training lets users monitor each personal heart rate time frame, which will be based on their resting heart rate and fitness levels. Auto workout mode is self-explanatory as it automatically detects your workouts, which was earlier available on Pixel Watch 2. 

Another notable improvement coming to the first-gen Pixel Watch is the addition of the Fitbit Relax app, which will be a guide for users’ breathing exercises. Google Maps on WearOS received public transit directions on the Pixel watch, which will be available on smartwatches running on WearOS 3 and above.

Google notes that the new software update will be available on supported Pixel phones, Pixel Tablet, and smartwatches and will start rolling out in all regions starting today (Mar. 4). However, users in the U.S. will have to wait till March 11, 2024.

Vishnu Sarangapurkar
News Writer

Vishnu works as a freelance News Writer for Android Central. For the past four years, he's been writing about consumer technology, primarily involving smartphones, laptops, and every other gizmo connected to the Internet. When he is away from keyboard, you can see him going on a long drive or chilling on a couch binge-watching some crime series.