Pixel Feature Drop adds new features to Google Camera, Google Photos, and more
Once every 3 months, Google releases a “Pixel Feature Drop” update that adds tons of new exclusive features on Pixel phones. The last update rolled out in March, meaning we’re due a big update today. Right on schedule, Google has released a new Pixel Feature Drop update alongside the June 2021 Android Security Bulletin.
In today’s update, Google has added new features to the Google Camera, Google Photos, Google Assistant, Digital Wellbeing, and Google Recorder apps. Here are the new features you’re getting in the update that’s rolling out today:
- Astrophotography videos in Google Camera: You can now create videos of the stars moving across the sky. When you take a photo in the app’s Night Sight mode, both the photo and a video will be saved. If you put the phone on a tripod and wait for longer, you’ll be able to capture an astrophotography, though sadly not as a time-lapse as we were expecting.
- Locked Folder in Google Photos: At Google I/O 2021, Google said that it will add a “locked folder” to the Google Photos app that will let you hide sensitive photos and videos. This feature is now rolling out to Pixel users, and when it’s available, you’ll be able to add photos and videos to the Locked Folder straight from the Google Camera app. Do note that files added to the Locked Folder aren’t saved in the cloud, so be sure you don’t forget your device’s passcode or fingerprint.
- Car crash detection: The Personal Safety app on Google Pixel phones can automatically detect when you’re in a car crash and alert emergency services. However, this feature is only available if you’re in the U.S., the U.K., or Australia. Soon, Pixel users in Spain, Ireland, and Singapore will get car crash detection capabilities in the Personal Safety app.
- Heads-up alerts in Digital Wellbeing: Earlier this year, Google started rolling out a new “Heads Up” feature in the Digital Wellbeing app to a handful of users. This feature is now starting to roll out more widely as part of the June 2021 Pixel Feature Drop. As a reminder, this feature will periodically warn you to look up from your screen when you’re walking.
- Take calls with the Google Assistant: You’ll now be able to answer or reject a phone call with a simple Google Assistant command. Just say, “Hey Google, answer call” or “Hey Google, reject call.”
- Smarter replies in Gboard: The Gboard app will now surface phone numbers, email addresses, or URLs in the clipboard suggestion space.
- Expanded availability for Call Screen and Recorder: Call Screen on Pixel phones lets you avoid spam callers by having the Google Assistant pick up the call and find out why you’re being called. The Recorder app uses Google’s ML prowess to detect and transcribe speech. Call Screen is now coming to Japan, while the Recorder app will soon support more English dialects including Singaporean, Australian, Irish, and British English.
- Bonus: June is Pride month, and to celebrate, Google has released new Pride-themed wallpapers, ringtones, and notification sounds.
Here’s a chart that summarizes which of these new features will be available on select Pixel devices:
Here’s a video that summarizes the new features added in the June 2021 Pixel Feature Drop: