What you need to know
- Google's latest Pixel feature drop allows you to start emergency sharing or schedule a safety check using your voice.
- The car crash detection feature on Pixel phones has picked up a new capability to share your real-time location with emergency contacts when you figure in an accident.
- The Pixel 7 Pro’s Macro Focus mode has also been extended to video recording.
- You can also combine over 4,000 emojis with different patterns and colors to create live wallpapers.
Google announced today the next wave of new software features rolling out to Pixel phones, the majority of which focus on your personal safety when you're walking alone or when you're involved in an accident.
The Personal Safety app has been around for a while, providing emergency assistance and keeping track of your location when you're in danger. However, these actions previously required you to tap on a few buttons in order to start or schedule a check-in.
Personal safety enhancements
Google is making it easier to trigger these actions if you feel vulnerable by just using your voice. For example, if you're going for a quick walk late at night, you can ask Google Assistant to start a safety check for 30 minutes. When the timer expires, Google's safety check feature will display a prompt on your screen asking for your status.
You can ignore the prompt and tell Google that everything is fine. If you do not respond, the app will notify your emergency contacts and provide them with your location.
Car crash detection is another useful safety feature that's been available on Pixel phones since 2019. Google is expanding upon this feature with a new emergency sharing capability that's designed to share your real-time location and call status with your emergency contacts if it detects an accident on the road. When this occurs, the app will also notify emergency services.
Better video recording, hands-free selfies
Google's Pixel 7 Pro is one of the best Android camera phones out there, and the company elevated its imaging capabilities with the release of the Macro Focus mode last year, enabling the device to capture stunning close-up photos. That feature is now extended to video recording using the Pixel 7 Pro.
And if you own a Pixel 6 or newer Pixel handset, you can now take self-timed selfies by just raising your palm to start the timer, a popular feature found on many other Android phones. The timer's duration is determined by your preferred setting.
Emoji wallpapers and more
A few days ago, emoji wallpapers appeared for some Pixel owners on Android 14 Beta 3, and today Google is officially announcing the feature for eligible Pixel owners. This means you'll be able to create a fun live wallpaper by combining over 4,000 emojis with various patterns and colors.
Pixel phones have also picked up cinematic wallpapers, allowing you to create a 3D image from any 2D photo using AI.
In addition, Pixel’s Recorder will allow you to "export transcripts into Google Docs, generate speaker-labeled video clips, and search for speakers within recordings" beginning next week, the company said in a blog post.
Google is also expanding on other Pixel features, such as the revamped smart home panel, which was announced earlier this year. It's faster and allows access to your camera feed, favorites, and more, straight from your Quick Settings panel.
Pixels will also reduce vibration intensity when on a flat surface and use Google AI to enhance Adaptive Charging and improve battery health.
Google says these features are now rolling out to eligible devices and will continue over the next few weeks.
Google does not want you to be saddled with an expensive phone. The Pixel 7 is a sufficient flagship for many people without necessitating a second mortgage. Plus, you'll get years of software support and multiple OS upgrades, which means you won't need to buy a new phone for a while.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.