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Here are all the new features Google just dropped for the Pixel 4

Google has just dropped the latest feature set for its Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL smartphones. If you own a Made by Google phone, you'll automatically get these updates. Here are all the new features coming to Pixel smartphones this month.

Thanks to a post by Shenaz Zack, Group Product Manager at Google, on the company’s blog, we now know what new features will be coming to Pixel smartphones at the end of 2019. Google’s idea of a smartphone is that it should get better and better over time. We like that approach. Now, the Mountain View giant is delivering on that promise.

More powerful portraits in Google Photos

Everyone loves portrait mode, but these classy Bokeh effects can take time to set up and shoot. Sometimes when you are out and about, you just want to pull out your phone and take a quick snapshot. Now, thanks to improved photo controls, you can turn any photo in a portrait on your Google Pixel smartphone.

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You can now create portraits using any old photo / © Google

It doesn’t matter if you took the shot years ago, as long as it is uploaded to Google Photos, you can blur the background and create beautiful portraits. Google is calling the feature Photo Blur, and it is coming to Google Pixel phones this month.

Kill off robocalls for good

Spam calls, often referred to as robocalls due to their automated nature, are still a pain even in 2019. Fortunately, Google is taking action. A new feature called Call Screen is coming to Pixel 4 smartphones that allows Google Assistant to screen unknown callers before they even hit your phone and cause it to ring. If Google’s digital assistant detects that there’s a machine at the other end of the line, it simply hang up the phone. If it’s not a robocall, your phone will ring a few moments later once the caller has been cleared.

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Put an end to robocalls with Google Call Screen / © Google

If this feature sounds too good to be true, that’s because for some it is. Call Screen comes with a caveat before you start getting too excited. It’s only available in the United States. At least all of the processing is done on-device so it doesn’t use Wi-Fi or mobile data.

Improved video calls on Duo

Hands up if you use Google Duo instead of Skype, WhatsApp of Facebook Messenger? I didn’t think so… Well, thanks to a newer improved Duo, maybe you will think twice about it in the future. Google has made Duo calls better on the Pixel 4 by adding an auto-framing feature that keeps your face in the middle of the screen. It will also automatically adjust if someone joins you on camera, and zoom back in again when they wander off.

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improvements are coming to Google Duo / © Google

Google is also using a machine learning tool to predict the next likely sound for when poor connections cause the audio to dip. How this actually works in practice, we’ll have to wait and see, but it does sound like a strange one. The updated Duo features will also be available on Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 phones, including the affordable Pixel 3a.

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Auto-framing keeps your face in the middle of the shot / © Google

Better memory management

Google says it is also improving the memory management on its Pixel smartphones. There’s very little in terms of detail, but your Pixel will now proactively compress cached applications to that you can multitask more effectively. It has been designed to improve things like games, streaming content and so on.

Smaller, bonus features

There are also some smaller features coming as part of this feature drop. The Live Caption feature, which was debuted on the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, is coming to the Pixel 3, Pixel 3XL and Pixel 3a. The new recorder app will also be available on older generation Pixel smartphones.

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Live Caption is coming to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a / © NextPit

There are also improvements to Digital Wellbeing, with Focus Mode coming to help smartphone users stay productive by shutting off distractions with a single tap. Bundled in as a new Digital Wellbeing feature, the popular Flip to Shhh feature will come to the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2XL as well. Finally, users in the UK, Canada, Ireland, Singapore, and Australia will get the new, updated Google Assistant that our American friends have already got. It is only available in English for now.

To get these new features on your Google Pixel device, simply head over to the Google Play Store and download all the app updates available. They won’t all drop at once, it seems, so it’s worth checking intermittently.

How to use Motion Sense on your Google Pixel 4 smartphone

What do you think of the Google Pixel feature drop? Which features would you like to see on your smartphone in the coming months and years?


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