One of the single best things about owning a Pixel device is the random “feature drops” that hit Pixels every three months. Pixel feature drops improve functionality and add extra features to the device upon arrival. December’s Pixel feature drop brings a host of necessary additions, a few bug fixes, and a Snapchat feature announced at launch but is only now becoming available.
Firstly, Pixel owners will now have access to an expanded ‘Now Playing’ feature on the lock screen. Now Playing has been one of the most slept on features of Pixel devices as it allows devices to listen to the ambient noise in the background and identify songs that are detected. Until now, those songs were able to be identified in an offline mode using a pre-stored database of music. The latest update to this functionality, allows users to toggle cloud-based identification for music playing in the background. Now, if your phone can’t ID a song right away there’ll be a search option that will broadcast the audio into the cloud via the Google Assistant which will detect what song it hears.
The next feature drop is one that many have asked for and are finally going to get. Well, sort of. Pixel users will soon be able to control the time to activation for the Google Assistant through the power button. You do have to have “Hold For Assistant” activated in order to allow for customization. With the new toggle, you can now choose both the length of time and the amount of pressure needed to activate the Google Assistant using the power button. This is essentially Google giving us Pixel faithful a small remnant of the “active edge” feature that initially debuted with the Pixel 2.
For those Pixel owners who suffer from hearing difficulties, there’s an awesome new feature coming to the sound amplifier app. Google is calling it “Conversation Mode” and it showcases the beefed-up capabilities of machine learning available with the Tensor chip in the device. In Conversation Mode, users can point their camera at an object or a speaking person, and the Pixel will reduce the background noise while also enhancing the audio in the process.
During the announcement for the Google Pixel 6, Snapchat and Google announced an interesting new partnership. One that would see a feature added to Pixels that acted as a shortcut directly into Snapchat. The feature is called “Quick Tap To Snap” and allows users to double-tap the back of their Pixel to quickly launch Snapchat and take a photo. While I’m not entirely sure how much I’d personally use this feature, I’m sure the Snapchat diehards are fawning over this feature. Pixel users will also get an exclusive Snap filter in addition to Quick Tap To Snap.
As far as bug fixes and patches, Pixel owners who were experiencing a display issue that caused the screen to flicker and dim should have that fixed now. In addition, the Pixel 6 Pro will also finally gain access to Ultrawide Band 5G which was disabled on the device at launch.
Source: Google Blog