Google Announces the First Pixel Drop of 2023

Today, Google announced its first Pixel Drop of 2023, which adds several useful new features to supported Pixel phones and the Pixel Watch. Google tells me that these features will begin rolling out today and will continue over the next few weeks.

They include:

Faster Night Sight. Night Sight is one of the Pixel’s most incredible features, and it is even faster on the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro with their improved Tensor 2 chipset. Now, those speed advantages are coming to the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro too, thanks to improved algorithms aimed at the original Tensor in those phones.

Magic Eraser comes to more phones. Magic Eraser debuted as a new feature in Google Photos on Pixel 7 and 7 Pro late last year, but now this amazing feature is coming to all supported Pixels. Magic Eraser is a Photoshop-like tool that helps you erase unwanted objects in a photo—like people in the background—and change the color and brightness of individual objects so that they match the rest of the photo.

More efficient Direct My Call. This Pixel-exclusive (and U.S.-only) feature has been available for a while and has made its way to all supported Pixels, but with this update, it will now display all of the menu options for the on-holds service you’re using so you can move through the menu even more quickly.

Health Connect. Pixel now has the Health Connect app built-in–it was previously available in the Google Play Store in beta–so you can easily exchange data between compatible health and fitness apps. All data is stored on-device.

Timers across Nest and Pixel. Now, when you set a timer on a Nest device, you will see the countdown in At a Glance on your Pixel phone’s lock screen too, and a notification will appear when it goes off so you can dismiss it from there. You can also dismiss it or add one minute from At a Glance.

Fall detection comes to Pixel Watch. Pixel Watch now has a fall detection feature that detects when you have a hard fall and then connect you with emergency services. “Once connected to emergency services, your Pixel Watch will play an automated message to request help to wherever you are,” Google explains. “You can also speak to the emergency operator yourself, if possible, to let them know whether or not you need help.”

Pixel Watch customization. In the coming weeks, Google will add new sound and display settings with Wear OS 3+ that will make it easier to customize the audio and visual experiences on Pixel Watch. This includes mono-audio and split-audio options, and new color-correction and greyscale modes.

Separate from the Pixel Drop, Google is also bringing other new features to Pixel and expanding existing features to new markets. For example, Fast Pair is now available on select Chromebooks so users can automatically detect and pair Pixel Buds or other Fast Pair enabled-Bluetooth 4 headphones. There are new emoji combinations in Emoji Kitchen via Gboard. You can now use two eSIMs with dual SIM dual standby on Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. And Hold for Me is now available in Japan (in addition to the U.S., Australia, and Canada).

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