What you need to know
- Google Camera version 8.6 has been released alongside the Pixel 6a.
- A teardown of the APK reveals continued development on the Pixel Notepad.
- A new camera mode has been discovered, codenamed Jupiter, but it's not clear what this feature is for.
It's an exciting day for Pixel fans, as both the Pixel 6a and Pixel Buds Pro have officially gone on sale and are available from some of your favorite retailers. Along with the release of these new Pixel products, Google is also pushing some new software updates out with them.
There's a day-one update available for new Pixel 6a owners, which includes the August security patch and likely bug fixes. But Google has also just released version 8.6 for the Google Camera app. Unlike the Pixel 6a-specific software, Google Camera v8.6 is available for all Pixel owners, and according to 9to5Google, it offers more than just a few bug fixes.
Before diving into the "juicy" stuff that was found, version 8.6 of the Google Camera app adds a new "Hotshot" feature that will "use visual, audio and haptic feedback to provide selfie guidance." The accompanying glyph shows a person perfectly-placed in the middle of a phone, but it's not exactly clear how the feature will appear once made available.
9to5Google points out that the differing types of feedback "likely refers to a gentle alert that the shot you’ve framed up should look great and is ready to be captured." But at the time of this writing, we checked to see if Hotshot was available in the latest Google Camera update on our Pixel 6 Pro, and it has yet to appear.
Even more exciting than helping you take properly-aligned selfies is a reference to another new mode that comes with a codename of "Jupiter." This in and of itself isn't all that surprising, as Google regularly tests out different features that never end up appearing. But what makes this intriguing is the accompanying icon that goes along with it.
The icon is rather basic in its own right but shows a device that folds in half, with a swooping arrow that comes around from the back of the device. It's possible that "Jupiter" will be for a feature similar to the Cover Screen Preview functionality offered by Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 3. This allows you to still see a preview of the image while using the vastly-superior rear-facing cameras as opposed to the under-display selfie camera.
Since foldable phones like the Galaxy Z Fold 3 rely on Samsung's own camera app, it wouldn't make much sense for this to be present if Google wasn't still working on development for the rumored Pixel Notepad. According to leaks and rumors, Google hasn't given up all hope on a foldable Pixel but has seemingly delayed the launch several times for various reasons. Hopefully, we continue to see more tidbits of information leading up to the unveiling, but until then, we just have to keep our fingers crossed that it will come to fruition.
The Pixel 6a is Google's latest mid-range smartphone, powered by the company's flagship chipset. It sports a great design, decent battery life, and cameras that are just as good as the Pixel 6.
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Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.