Google Tensor takes calls and messaging to the next level on the Pixel 6

Google Tensor Official
Google Tensor Official (Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Google introduced several new features at Tuesday's Pixel launch.
  • New features include enhancements to the Phone app, Google Assistant, and Live Translation.
  • These new features will be available on the new Pixel 6, which is up for preorder now.

During the Pixel 6 launch, Google took some time to highlight some of the new features that are coming to its latest flagships, courtesy of the custom-built Tensor chip. Thanks to the focus on machine learning, the chip can provide the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro with on-device AI processing, which keeps your information safe and potentially makes them much faster at handling speech recognition and visual information than many of the best Android phones running Qualcomm chips.

Smarter calling features

Google is introducing a handful of calling features for the Pixel 6. Now, when looking up a phone number in the Search app, before you hit the call button, you'll soon be able to get a live graph showing times when the business is at its busiest. This way, you can plan your call for a time when it's not as busy, therefore cutting down your wait time.

Also, the new Direct My Call feature will provide a live transcript of the automated system, with visual representations of the selections available to you. This is all thanks to Google Duplex and makes it so that you won't have to worry about remembering the options after they've been listed.

Google is also improving caller ID by crowdsourcing data from those that share information about calls to or from unknown businesses, that way others can be better informed and know whether or not a call is spam or legitimate. Google assures that there's no identifying information when this call data is shared.

Additionally, Call Screen is now expanding to the UK, France, Germany, Australia, Ireland, Italy, and Spain, while Hold For Me is coming to Australia, Canada, and Japan in the coming months.

Messaging made better

Google is leaning hard on speech recognition. Gboard is getting a nice upgrade with the new Assistant Voice Typing feature, which will improve voice dictation on Pixel phones.

Thanks to Live Translate, you'll be able to communicate better with integration into many of the best messaging apps on Android, including WhatsApp, Snapchat, and more. This means automatically translating messages you receive and while you type, foregoing the need to copy and paste from the Google Translate app.

This also extends to media, improving on the Live Caption feature by automatically translating video captions on-device.

Google also demonstrated an improved Interpreter Mode, which is now faster and more fluent.

These features are just some of the capabilities that the Tensor chip brings to the new Pixel 6, including powerful new imaging tools and improved security and privacy with the Titan M2 chip and Android 12. As Google's first custom-built smartphone chipset, it appears Google has finally found the right hardware to match its ideal software experience.

You can preorder the Pixel 6 now, starting at just $599.

Derrek Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.