Pixel 'feature drop' bringing a ton of upgrades to Google's phones

Ruben Fields
December 9, 2019

Photos like these taken on a smartphone resemble the quality of high-end photos taken with a more expensive DSLR. Business Insider has previously written about ways to take a photo that can somewhat recreate the bokeh effect, or third-party apps that can produce similar styles, but for people already storing photos in Google Photos this seems to be the easiest way to get the portrait-mode look.

Google's Duo video calling service will now center on your face during a call, even if you move around or someone else walks into the shot.

Your phone should get better over time. The first feature drop, rolling out this month, will bring the latest Call Screen features and improved Duo video calls to the Pixel 4.

Along with all of these the Recorder app is now available for older Pixel phones, Pixel 3 devices will also receive Live Caption and Digital Wellbeing is updated with a new Focus mode to minimise distractions. I love the idea of adding a bit of bokeh to an older photo even if I didn't consider portrait mode at the time, and I love the idea of Google Photos continuing to gain features that continue making it such a joy to use.

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Google enhanced memory management across all supported generations of Pixel phones with this update.

Photos aside, Google now helps you screen and filter unknown callers and robocalls before your phone rings, as opposed to just alerting you when they might be potential spam. The app also takes full advantage of the Pixel 4's 90Hz screen and displays a smoother video feed. If another person enters the frame, it'll zoom back out to include them as well.

You'll still need a "designed for Fi" phone in order for Fi's fabled automatic network switching to work, but nonetheless, we're all for more features coming to more phones.

The rest of the Pixel line, save for the original Pixel, can expect to see some meaningful updates as well. Still, owners of older Pixel handsets won't be left our of the lurch entirely. It's expected around September of 2020.

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