Google Releases the Next Pixel 4 Feature Drop

Posted on March 2, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 0 Comments

Keeping its promise to continually update the Pixel 4 with new features, Google today released the second feature drop for the handset.

“A few months ago, Pixel owners got a few new, helpful features in our first feature drop,” Google’s Susie Church writes. “Beginning today, even more updates and new experiences will begin rolling out to Pixel users.”

They are:

Pause and resume music with Motion Sense. Pixel’s Motion Sense feature already lets you use what I think of as “air gestures” to skip forward or back in a playing playlist. Now, you can use Motion Sense to pause and resume music, too: Just “air tap” above the phone’s display.

Personal Safety in more markets. Personal Safety debuted with the Pixel 4, allowing that device to automatically detect severe car crashes, check with the user to see whether they need emergency services, and access 911 with a voice command or a single tap, but only in the United States. Now, Personal Safety is coming to Australia (000) and the UK (999).

New AR effects. You can now access new AR effects in live Duo video calls. These effects change based on your facial expressions, Google says, and move with you around the screen.

Better selfies. The front-facing camera on the Pixel 4 can now create images with depth, which improves Portrait Blur and color pop, and create 3D photos for Facebook.

More emoji. The emoji 12.1 update provides 169 new emoji to represent a wider variation of gender and skin tones, plus more combinations.

Power button improvements. The Pixel 4 power button can now be used to access Google Pay in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Taiwan and Singapore: Just press and hold the power button to cycle through available debit and credit cards, event tickets, boarding passes, and more.

Better boarding passes. Speaking of Google Pay, you can now add electronic boarding passes directly into Google Pay by taking a screenshot of the pass: A notification will appear, and then you’ll receive real-time flight updates, and, on the day of your flight, you can press and hold the power button as noted above to display your boarding pass.  This feature will be rolling out gradually in all countries with Google Pay during March, and will come to the Pixel 3 and 3a families in addition to 4.

Improved Dark theme. Your Pixel can now switch automatically between Light and Dark theme based on a schedule that maps to the local sunrise and sunset times.

Improved rules. Now, you can configure rules based on Wi-Fi network availability or physical location. “You can now set up a rule to automatically silence your ringtone when you connect to your office WiFi, or go on Do Not Disturb when you walk in the front door of your house to focus on the people and things that matter most,” Google explains.

More customization options. You’ll see more options when you long-press on items in the launcher. And adaptive brightness has been updated to temporarily increases screen brightness to make reading easier when in extremely bright ambient lighting, including direct sunlight.

You can learn more about the new features here.

As you may recall, Google announced its plans for Pixel feature drops in December, and it released the first feature drop, which included improved Face Unlock, support for T-Mobile eSIMs, and support for dual-frequency GNSS.

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