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The Pixel 4's first Feature Drop contains surprise improvements to Face Unlock and more

By Koh Wanzi - on 24 Dec 2019, 11:32am

The Pixel 4's first Feature Drop contains surprise improvements to Face Unlock and more

Google announced earlier this month that its Pixel devices would be getting bigger, more feature-packed updates called Feature Drops in place of regular Android updates. These drops contain new features, in addition to the usual optimisations and bug fixes, and they're Google's way of adding yet another hook to its Pixel phones.

The first Feature Drop introduces things like robocall screening and automatic call centering in Duo, but there are also a few surprises packaged in there. Face Unlock is getting more capable, and it can now take into account changes to your appearance, such as if you change your hairstyle or decide to grow a beard.

"When it's on, face unlock images are occasionally used to create improved face models," Google says. "This helps recognise you better over time." The models are also stored on the Pixel 4's on-device Titan chip and never online.

Separately, the Feature Drop brings support for dual-frequency GNSS to the Pixel 4 so it can track two satellite signals at once, either from GPS or Galileo satellites. This in turn should result in more accurate location tracking.

Moving forward, we can expect more such feature updates from Google, further strengthening the case that you really buy a Pixel phone because of its software (well, other than the camera of course). 

Source: Google