New Google Pixel feature drop: Everything in the March update
(Pocket-lint) – Google regularly updates its family of Pixel smartphones with so-called “feature drops”, and the latest one for March 2021 has just arrived, bringing the ability to easily access and share audio recordings, a new way to use the Pixel Camera app underwater, new wallpapers, and more.
What’s new in the latest Pixel feature drop?
- Shareable Recorder
- Take underwater photos with Kraken
- Gboard Smart Compose
- Pixel Stand helps you ease into sleep
- International Women’s Day wallpapers
- Google Fit heart and respiratory monitoring
Above is a quick listing of everything new in the March Pixel feature drop. Read below for a detailed explanation of what these new features include:
The Pixel’s Recorder app can now automatically backup to Google Drive, which also means multi-devices access through a new recorder.google.com app (recordings backed up from the Recorder app on your Google Pixel will appear there). Previously, you had to manually upload using the share sheet, and past recordings could not be carried over to new or other phones. Keep in mind the Recorder app still only works in English.
For more about how Recorder works, see g.co/pixel/recorder.
Underwater photos with Kraken
Pixel phones now work with the Kraken Sports Universal Smart Phone Housing (KRH04 or KRH03) for underwater photos.
This housing gives you, according to Google, the ability to “capture the same kinds of high-quality images they’re accustomed to above water, and do it underwater without the cumbersome cameras and cases scuba drivers have traditionally used”. See g.co/pixel/diveconnector for more information.
Gboard Smart Compose
After launching in Gmail and Docs, Smart Compose is now officially available in Gboard for select messaging apps. The machine learning-based feature helps you to complete sentences as you write, by suggesting phrases and reducing potential typos. You simply swipe on the spacebar to accept suggestions. Smart Compose currently only works in the US and is limited to English.
Pixel Stand helps you ease into sleep
The Pixel Stand is getting an update to add a new bedtime screen and redesigned prompts to help you “ease into sleep”. This feature is available on Pixel phones with wireless charging capability: Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, and Pixel 5.
International Women’s Day wallpapers
Pixel is adding new wallpapers illustrated by Spanish duo Cachetejack. All the wallpapers focus on the “strength and transformation of women”. You can find them in the “Curated Culture” section, introduced last month for Black History Month, in Google Wallpapers. There are three backgrounds.
Google Fit heart and respiratory monitoring
Google is updating its Fit app on Pixel phones with heart and respiratory rate monitoring.
Essentially, the Fit app will use your camera to measure your respiratory rate by monitoring the rise and fall of your chest. It will also track your heart rate by looking at the colour changes of your fingertip as blood moves through it. Science! But Google warned its new heart and respiratory rate monitoring technology shouldn’t be used to evaluate or diagnose medical conditions.
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Writing by Maggie Tillman.