A little later than usual – updates tend to be released on the first Monday of every month – Google finally released the June update for its Pixel devices today. This time, however, it is not an ordinary monthly update, but the latest feature drop. These appear every three months and, as the name suggests, also bring new functions with them. The other monthly updates, on the other hand, only fix security problems and bugs. There are various new features to discover for both Google Pixel phones and the Pixel Watch.
First to the cell phones. With the June feature drop, you can ask the Google Assistant to start an emergency location sharing. “For some extra peace of mind” you can also schedule a security check. As an example, Google cites nightly jogging, where the security check starts after 30 minutes. Then, if you don’t respond within the specified amount of time, the emergency contacts are notified and the real-time location is shared with the contacts. In addition, the Google Assistant has two new voices, bringing it to a total of 12 in English.
Crash detection and macro videos
Crash Detection has been available on Pixel devices since 2019. It provides more security by automatically dialing the emergency number if necessary. Here, too, Google can share the location and call status in real time with the emergency contacts and thus point out a potential accident. The Google Pixel 7 Pro, on the other hand, gets macro focus for videos. With this you can “create larger-than-life videos of the smallest details, like butterflies fluttering or flowers waving in the wind”. Starting with the Pixel 6, you can also take self-timed photos just by raising your palm. A preset timer then starts for 3 or 10 seconds.
Also from the Pixel 6 on you can now convert 2D background photos into “dynamic 3D scenes” with the update. And with the new emoji wallpapers, you can combine 4,000+ emojis with different patterns and colors to create live wallpapers. The Recorder app will export transcripts to Google Docs “starting next week” and create speaker-tagged video clips. This allows you to search for people within recordings.
The Google Home app lets you quickly access your favorite smart home devices from the lock screen with the feature drop through the redesigned Home panel. And the Pixel 6a and Pixel 7a reduce their vibration intensity when they sense they’re on a hard, flat surface like a table. Finally, Adaptive Charging now uses “Google AI” to predict a long charging session based on past usage habits. The power consumption is reduced one hour before the expected disconnection from the mains in order to prolong the life of the battery.
Google Pixel Watch update
The Pixel Watch is now able to check oxygen saturation (SpO2) and detect changes in blood oxygen levels while you sleep. And of course you can follow the SpO2 development over time. The smartwatch can also notify you when your heart rate is unusually high or low. Both functions have long been an integral part of most smartwatches.
The Google Assistant in Wear OS is now available in Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Polish and Spanish. Spotify, on the other hand, gets three new tiles. One is for starting a DJ session, another for listening to podcasts. On the third one you can see what’s on in heavy rotation. That being said, the Pixel Watch will automatically pause a run, walk, or bike workout when you take a breather. As soon as you move again, the recording continues automatically.
Google has also announced new hardware. For the Pixel Watch there are new straps with “soft curves and crisp lines”. The bracelets will be sold in Google stores and the Google online shop from June 16th. They come in two colors: brushed silver and matte black.