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Pixel phones receive another round of updates

By Ken Wong - on 8 Mar 2020, 9:53am

Pixel phones receive another round of updates

Note: This article was first published on 3 March 2020.

Google is showing Pixel users that it is committed to providing them regular updates as it drops the latest round of fixes and improvements.

Since the launch of the Pixel 4 last year, we have been impressed by the device and some of the team are regular users of the phone and accessories.

December saw the Pixel receive its first Feature Drop with the new Google Assistant as well as other updates like Call Screen and Duo. There were enhancements to Face Unlock and location tracking.

This time around there are new features and enhancements to others but bear in mind, not all will be available to everyone as some depend on the location of the user.


Dropping the new features

Users of Motion Sense will be able to use new gestures to pause and resume music with a tapping gesture above the phone.

US users of the Pixel 4 received a Personal Safety app last year that was able to detect if they had been in an accident and contact emergency services via a voice command or single tap. This service is now rolling out to Pixel users in Australia and the UK and can automatically share relevant details, like location info, with emergency responders if the user is unresponsive.


Going social

Duo video call users can enjoy new AR effects that can move around the screen or change as your expression does. The emoji 12.1 update with 169 new and more inclusive emojis is also arriving with this Feature Drop.

Taking selfies is also better as the front-facing camera can now create images with depth, which improves Portrait Blur and colour pop, and lets users create 3D photos for Facebook.  


Giving more power to the power button

The Power button is getting a boost to make it more useful.

Simply take a screenshot of a boarding pass barcode and tap on the notification to add it to Google Pay to make it easier to board a flight.

Choose the right credit card faster when using Google Pay by pressing and holding the power button to swipe through your debit and credit cards, event tickets, boarding passes or access anything else in Google Pay. This feature will be available to users in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Taiwan and Singapore.


Customise your look and feel

Users can now set rules based on specific Wi-Fi networks or location. For example, they can now set up a rule to automatically silence their ringtone when connected to the office network, or go on Do Not Disturb when at home.

The popular Dark Theme can now be set to turn off and on based on the rising and setting of the sun and  Adaptive brightness, which now temporarily increases screen brightness to make reading content easier when in extremely bright ambient lighting, like direct sunlight.

More information on the new features can be found on their support page here.