Sunday, June 23, 2024

June Feature Drop: Pixel 8 Display Port mirroring, 6/7 Pro Manual Lens Selection, PW2 Car Crash Detection

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Google is rolling out the June 2024 Pixel Feature Drop alongside Android 14 QPR3 today. This should be the last major update before Android 15 later this year.

Pixel phones

You can now connect a Pixel 8, 8 Pro, and 8a to a compatible external display via USB-C with the June Feature Drop. As of today, you should think of Display Port Support as more like wired Casting than Samsung Dex, with Google pitching the mirroring as allowing you to watch content and share photos/slides from your phone on larger screens.

Pixel 8 and 8a owners now have access to Gemini Nano. Go to the Settings app — after enabling Developer options — and search for “AICore Settings.” Once the large model is downloaded, you can access features like Summarize in Pixel Recorder, Magic Compose in Google Messages, and better Gboard Smart Replies. Third-party apps that leverage Gemini Nano are coming.

On that note, the Pixel Recorder app’s Summarize feature on those three phones can detect and include the speaker (label) names that you’ve added.

Google now touts how the Pixel can “automatically identify the best moment from your photo in HDR+ with a single shutter press.” This HDR+ Improved Frame Selection, which builds upon Top Shot, is available on the Pixel 6 and newer.

Pro controls on the Pixel 8 Pro offer Manual Lens Selection. Google is now bringing this to the Pixel 6/7 Pro and Fold. Once enabled from Photo Settings, the zoom toggle is replaced by UW, W, and T buttons.

The Phone by Google app is adding Reverse Phone Number Lookup. Select a call in the Recents tab and you’ll find a new “Lookup” option to perform a web search.

With VPN by Google One going away later this month, Pixel 7, 7 Pro, 7a, and Fold owners now have access to the “Pixel VPN by Google” app/service. Already available on the Pixel 8, 8 Pro, and 8a, this provides a more integrated experience that does away with the persistent “1” notification.

Lastly, Google is reiterating how the Pixel 8, 8 Pro, and 8a support Find My Device “Power-off Finding.” We learn today that the Find My Device “app can locate [a] device without power for at least 23 hours.”

Pixel Watch

Car Crash Detection is coming to the Pixel Watch 2. Your wearable will note when a crash is detected and will begin an automatic countdown. If you’re okay or it’s a false alarm, you can cancel. Otherwise, you can start the emergency call immediately, with the watch automatically relaying your location, with the ability to talk to an operator also offered.

Similarly, Google has updated Fall Detection to better detect bicycle-related drops. This is available on the original Pixel Watch and PW2.

Google is also highlighting the new Google Home Favorites Tile and device complication, as well as deeper controls. This includes the ability to adjust fan rotation, speed, and humidifier settings. On the Pixel Tablet, you also have Doorbell Notifications when docked.

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