Google Pixel Feature Drop: Crash detection, motion sense, and more
Keeping the promise of frequent Pixel upgrades, Google has announced the second 'feature drop' for its flagship smartphones. The release comes with the March Security update and offers handy capabilities like car crash detection and enhanced motion-based music controls to make your Pixel experience better than ever. Let's take a look at everything Google has on offer.
Motion Sense for smarter music controls
The first big upgrade comes to Motion Sense on Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. Initially, the Soli-powered hand-tracking feature allowed users to wave their hand left/right in the air to change playing songs. Now, with the latest update, you can 'tap the air above the phone' to play/pause music, without picking up or touching your phone.
Car crash detection to call for help
The second big capability is car crash detection, a feature that allows your Pixel to call for help if you are in a road accident. The capability comes as part of the Personal Safety app of Pixel 4 and uses sensor data to know when you might need emergency assistance. However, as of now, it's only rolling out in Australia and the UK.
Enhanced AR effects for Duo calls
Google is also bringing enhanced augmented reality effects to make your Duo calls more engaging. The filters have been designed to match your expressions while being on the calls, something similar to what Facebook already offers on Messenger-based video calls. Additionally, Google has also improved the front-facing camera of Pixel 4 to let you take better portrait blur and color-pop selfies with more depth.
Rules feature, automated dark mode
Beyond Duo and camera changes, Google is also releasing Rules for Pixel devices. The feature, once configured, automates basic changes to your phone settings according to your location or Wi-Fi network. For instance, your phone will be turned silent when you reach work. Then, there is also dark mode scheduling, which will automatically turn dark mode on/off depending on sunset/sunrise.
Upgraded power button options with cards, passes
Finally, you also get an upgraded panel of options after long-pressing the power button. The panel of emergency, screenshot, power-off, and restart has been moved to the bottom, while the top hosts a menu for providing quick access to Google Pay payment methods, boarding passes, tickets, et al. Google says Pixels will also get support for screenshots of boarding passes, with real-time flight updates.
Other minor improvements
There are also other minor improvements such as Live Caption support for the Pixel 2 series as well as 169 new emojis with a wider variety of gender and skin tones and more couple options.