Google began releasing what they call ‘feature drops’, small, but delightful updates for their Pixel phones in December, and they’ve released a new one today alongside their March security update that includes crash detection for Australian drivers and more.
For Pixel 4 owners, especially ones in Australia, the headline feature is the introduction of Crash Detection. Google launched crash detection with the ‘Personal Safety’ app for the Pixel 4 for US Pixel 4 owners in October. Google has today expanded availability of the app and features to the UK and Australia.
According to Google the app ‘uses the phones’ sensors to quickly detect if you’ve been in a severe car crash, and checks with you to see if you need emergency services. For those who need 911, you can request help via a voice command or with a single tap. Now, the feature is rolling out to Pixel users in Australia (000) and the UK (999). If you’re unresponsive, your Pixel will share relevant details, like location info, with emergency responders.’
The crash detection feature isn’t the only new one with Google updating Motion Sense – their hands-free gesture controls – to add a new hand gesture. Previously you could swipe left or right to skip a track, but with the new Pixel feature you can now use a tap gesture above the phone to pause music as well.
Those are the two major features heading to Pixel 4, thanks to additional sensors on-board but older Pixel owners are getting some new features too. Pixel 2 owners will now get access to Live Captions on their phones, allowing them to get live captionsof media playing on the phone on their screen.
All supported Pixel owners will also see improvements in photo and video apps as well. Google is adding new AR effects for Duo video calls which work while you’re on the call.
Google is adding a Pixel 4 only feature for selfie, adding in depth support, allowing improved Portrait mode and support for Facebook’s 3D photos.
Google is also updatingPixel phones to support the new Emoji 12.1 update from the Unicode Consortium. 169 new emoji are being added bringing new gender and skin tone options, as well as Kangaroo’s, Llama’s and heaps more.
Accessing Google Pay is also getting easier, with Google adding support for selecting cards from a shortcut in the power menu. Google says that you simply :
press and hold the power button to swipe through your debit and credit cards, event tickets, boarding passes or access anything else in Google Pay.
Pixel owners are also getting more controls over scheduling the look, and behaviour of their phones. Google is now letting users automatically switch on dark mode with a new scheduler that lets you ‘schedule Dark theme based on local sunrise and sunset times.’
You can now also automatically switch your phone to silent, or all the way into Do Not Disturb mode based on WiFi networks.
Pixel 4 owners get one last new set of features with Google announcing: ‘Pixel 4 users are also getting some unique updates to the way they engage with the content on their phone. Improved long press options in Pixel’s launcher will get more and faster help from your apps. There’s also an update to Adaptive brightness, which now temporarily increases screen brightness to make reading content easier when in extremely bright ambient lighting, like direct sunlight.’
The update will roll out to Pixel owners with the March Security update from today. To check your phone go to Settings > System > Advanced > System Update and download it now.