Google Pixel update brings boosted selfies, car crash detection, new emoji and smoother Google Pay experience

Google is pushing the second quarterly update, looking to boost the features of your Pixel handset, with some fun camera features, a boost to Google Pay, dark mode scheduling and more.

One of the new features that’s heading to a wider audience on the Pixel 4 is the Personal Safety app. This launched in the US in October 2019, but now it’s coming to the UK and to Australia, meaning that the phone can detect if you’ve been in a serious car accident and can call the emergency services for you via a voice command or tap – including sending out your location information if you’re unresponsive.

There’s also a new pause function coming to Pixel 4 owners, taking advantage of the Motion Sense system, allowing you to tap above the phone to get it to pause. That’s going to be super useful when you’re sitting in a café and someone comes over and starts talking.

There’s also a boost to the selfie camera on the Pixel 4, with Google saying that you’ll be able to take images with greater depth, boosting the portrait blur and colour pop while also letting you create 3D photos for Facebook. 

Duo calling will get new AR functions giving you more fun in your calls and the arrival of 169 new emoji with the 12.1 update will mean you have a lot more ways to express yourself.

For fans of dark mode, the rumoured scheduling of the dark theme – something that was spotted in the Android 11 preview – is actually coming to Pixels now, along with some location-based rules, meaning you can, for example, have your phone silenced when you connect to your work email.

Google is also boosting the power button on the Pixel 4, making it a little more powerful and giving you access to Google Pay and all the function it offers be that bank cards, loyalty cards, or tickets or boarding passes. This will be coming to those in US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Taiwan and Singapore. 

You’ll also be able to scan the barcode on your boarding pass and add that to Google Pay, so it’s going to be even smoother getting on flights. This feature, Google says, will be coming to all regions that support Google Pay on Pixel 3, 3a and 4 models.

Live caption will also be coming to Pixel 2 owners, meaning you can caption anything that’s playing on your phone really easily. 

It’s a bumper selection of features, making the Pixel just a little smarter. With a wave of new smartphones incoming, it’s great that Google is supporting existing devices and making those better for users.

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