Google’s tenth Pixel feature drop is launching today with several new updates, including a feature that lets you type to talk during phone calls. The updates are rolling out to Pixel 3a through Pixel 5a 5G devices today, while Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro devices will begin receiving the updates later this month.
The most notable new feature is aimed toward people who can’t or prefer not to speak on calls, Google says. Now, when you’re on a call, you can see captions of what the other person on the call is saying and you can type back a response that will be read out loud on the other end. You’ll have the option to type out a custom message or choose a pre-written response. The new update is an extension of Google’s Live Caption feature, which automatically captions speech on your device.
The Pixel update also includes a night photography mode called “Night Sight” for Snapchat. The new mode is meant to make it easier to capture clear low-light pictures and video without having to use flash.
Google also announced that the previously Pixel 6-exclusive Direct My Call and Wait Times features will now be available for Pixel 3a and newer phones. The Direct My Call feature helps you get through complicated phone trees when you dial a business. Instead of listening and trying to remember the many options presented (e.g. “Press 1 for hours and locations”), Google Assistant translates the automated messages for you. On the other hand, the Wait Times feature displays the projected time it will take to get through to a person when dialing a toll-free number.
Following its launch on the Galaxy S22 last month, Google Duo’s co-watching and live sharing features are now also coming to Pixel devices. The new features are supposed to make it easier to connect with friends and family on video calls and allow you to do things like host YouTube watch parties or share apps.
In addition, Gboard will now offer stickers containing custom text if your language is set to U.S. English.
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” said Chris Breithaupt, a product manager at Google, in a blog post about the announcement. “When you’re typing in messaging apps, Gboard can convert your words into colorful stickers built with your exact text. With emoji, emoji kitchen and custom sticker suggestions while you type your Pixel helps you express exactly how you feel,” he added.
The company is also introducing a new Pixel battery widget that is designed to display up-to-date information about your phone and connected devices, such as Pixel Buds.
Google’s Interpreter Mode, which is designed to translate face-to-face conversations, can now also support Spanish, Italian and French. Google also announced that its Recorder app can now transcribe in Italian and Spanish on Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro devices. Support for Assistant Quick phrases is also rolling out in Spanish, Italian and French on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.
The launch of this latest Pixel feature drop arrived alongside Android 12L, a version of the Android operating system designed specifically for large-screened devices. The software will begin to roll out to supported devices from Samsung, Lenovo and Microsoft starting later this year.