New features arrive for Pixel phones with the latest feature drop; delay for Pixel 6 series

It’s that time folks; not only is it the first Monday of the month, it also is time for the Pixel Quarterly Feature Drop that adds new capabilities to compatible Pixel phones. That list includes the Pixel 3a series, the Pixel 4 line, the Pixel 4a, the Pixel 5, the Pixel 5a, and the Pixel 6 series. Unfortunately, those with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro won’t be able to access the new features until sometime later this month (act surprised).

New features come to Pixel handsets with the March Feature Drop

The new features include:


  • A widget that will show battery-information for your Pixel, and Bluetooth connected devices including Pixel Buds. The widget will show how much battery life is left on the Pixel Buds case and on each individual earbud. The widget can be expanded to cover your home screen, or customized to fit smaller spaces. 
  • Night Sight can now help Snapchat users on a Pixel phone take clear photos and videos even under low-light conditions.
  • Too shy to speak on phone calls? With the new Pixel Feature Drop, users will be able to employ Live Caption to see a transcription that shows what the person on the other end of a call is saying. And if you lack the confidence to respond using your voice, you can type your response and it will be read out loud to the person you are connected to on the phone using Google Assistant.
The other day we told you that when enabled, a new feature will allow Gboard users to convert their typed words into stickers. This new feature is coming to English speaking (U.S.) Pixel users today (well, not until later this month for Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro users). In its announcement of the March Quarterly Feature Drop, Google wrote, “With emoji, emoji kitchen and custom sticker suggestions while you type, your Pixel helps you express exactly how you feel.”
Pixel users can now share YouTube watch parties, or share their favorite app using the live sharing feature available on Google Duo. And Live Translate can help you enjoy a conversation face-to-face with someone who doesn’t speak your language via the Interpreter mode. Here’s how this works.

The Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro can act as your personal 24/7 interpreter

With the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, once you can install the update, you’ll be able to speak with someone face-to-face in Spanish, Italian and French; simply say  “Hey Google, be my (Spanish, Italian, or French) interpreter.” What you say in English will come out of your speaker translated to the desired language. And whatever the other person says in his/her language will come out of your speaker in English.

Yes, it’s like having a real interpreter at your beck and call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And get this; the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro can now identify Spanish in videos and in other media and can automatically translate it to any of the languages supported by Google such as English, French, Italian, German, Japanese (beta) and Spanish.

The At A Glance screen on Pixel phones will soon be even more helpful by showing you even more useful information. Battery levels for your Pixel Buds and other Bluetooth-connected devices will appear along with “a safety check countdown from the Personal Safety app.”

Here’s something cool. If the next day is a holiday, the At A Glance screen will remind you to turn off your alarm so that you can sleep in without the jarring sound of your Pixel’s alarm waking you up. And it will also show you an earthquake alerts for your area right on your lock and home screen.

Direct My Call, which automatically transcribes calls made to businesses, is now available to Pixel 3a and newer phones. Wait Times, which shows you an estimate of how long you’ll be on hold when calling a business, is also now offered on the Pixel 3a and later. On the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, the Recorder app will now transcribe in Italian and Spanish.

And lastly, Assistant Quick Phrase will allow Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro users to issue voice commands asking the virtual helper to handle some tasks without saying the prefix “Hey Google.” Currently, users can say “Stop” to halt a timer, “Snooze” to snooze an alarm, and “answer” or “decline” an incoming call.

To update your Pixel, go to Settings > System > System update.

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