Feature Drop December 2022: New features for Pixel smartphones and Pixel Watch


Pixel smartphones and this time also the Pixel Watch will once again receive new exclusive functions with the “Pixel Feature Drop December 2022”. Some of the innovations only affect the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, but depending on the feature they extend to the Pixel 4a. Google also gives an outlook on new features for the coming year.

Google VPN free for Pixel 7 (Pro)

It starts with the VPN provided free of charge by Google One, which can be used to mask your own IP address, which is intended to secure use in unprotected networks such as public Wi-Fi hotspots in cafés, hotels or airports. Google's VPN is also included for users of a Google One subscription from 2 TB, but owners of a Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro (test) receive the service free of charge. The VPN is smartphone-only, while Google One plan users can access it on multiple devices, according to the FAQ.

New security and privacy settings

For Pixel phones up to the Pixel 4a, security and privacy settings have been revamped, now gathered in one place in Settings, covering things like accounts and passwords. New action cards are intended to inform users about risks and give them steps to improve privacy and security.

“Crystal clear calls” on the Pixel 7 (Pro)

When the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro were launched, Google promised the “Crystal clear calls” function, in which Background noise is reduced via the Tensor-G2 chip to make calls easier to understand in busy areas such as restaurants. As Google notes, the function only covers classic phone calls and not those made via VoIP services.

Recorder app creates speaker labels

Google's recorder app, which creates speaker labels on the Pixel 6 and newer when recording and transcribing, is also being expanded. The app identifies each speaker and creates line breaks when the speaker changes. Although the recorder app can in principle also transcribe in German, this new function is initially only available on smartphones with the language setting in US English.

Cough and snore detection for the Pixel 6 (Pro)

After the Fitbit sleep profile for the Google Pixel Watch (test) has been available since mid-November, the manufacturer is now adding cough and snoring detection to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. The smartphone should help the user to understand what influences sleep, such as nocturnal coughing and snoring or the time spent on the smartphone before bed. Bedtime mode must be enabled in Clock and Digital Wellbeing settings for the feature to work.

New wallpapers for pixels -Smartphones

Pixel phones are also getting three new wallpapers with the latest Feature Drop to celebrate International Day of People with Disabilities. The images are illustrated by artist, poet, podcaster and author Morgan Harper Nichols. There is also a floral Live Bloom wallpaper collection whose patterns sway to match the movements of the smartphone.

Pixel Watch gets new tiles< /h2>

New tiles are being added specifically for the Pixel Watch, including one for the sunrise and sunset from the Weather app. Five favorite contacts can be selected from the Contacts app and pinned to a tile on the clock so they're available for a quick call or message.

Known functions expanded to more devices

Google is also expanding existing functions to other markets, languages ​​and devices. Digital car keys stored in Google Wallet can be shared with family and friends with a Google Pixel or iPhone, and soon with other Android devices running Android 12 and higher. The Gboard's grammar checker is now available in French, in addition to English and Spanish . Arabic, Persian, Swedish, Vietnamese and Danish are added to the live translation of texts in compatible messaging apps. The search is said to have been improved on all devices from the Pixel 4a and find apps, contacts, screenshots, settings or results on the Internet faster. In addition, the transcription of voice messages in the Messages app can now be used starting with the Pixel 4a.

Spatial Audio will follow in January 2023

Google plans to roll out spatial audio to the Pixel Buds Pro (test) next year. From January 2023, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro as well as the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro can use the function that detects head movements to put the wearer at the center of music, films and series. As Google notes, spatial audio should also be enabled on wired headphones.

ComputerBase received information about this article from Google under the NDA. The only requirement was the earliest possible publication date.