Author Archives: Sherry Lin

Snap faster, hear better and do more with your Pixel

One of the sweet things about being a Pixel user is that your phone continues to get a boost of helpfulness with Feature Drops. Whether you want to quickly tap to access Snapchat from your Pixel lock screen or control the bass levels on your Pixel Buds A-Series, we’ve got an update you’ll love.

This latest Feature Drop will roll out to users over the next few weeks, starting today with relevant updates coming to Pixel 3a through Pixel 5a (5G) devices - see for details. Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro devices will begin receiving their updates next week.

Snapchat, digital car key and ultra-wideband help Pixel do more

You can already customize the actions your Pixel takes when you use Quick Tap, from taking a screenshot to playing music. With Quick Tap to Snap, you can access Snapchat directly from your lock screen, making Pixel the fastest phone to make a Snap. Quick Tap to Snap is available to all Pixel 4a with 5G or newer Pixel phones. Plus, starting this month, you’ll be able to add a new Pixel-exclusive Lens – Pixel Face – to your Snaps. Look out for more Pixel-exclusive Lenses in future Feature Drops.

Image showing  Quick Tap to Snap on Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Two people, an adult and a child, looking into the camera. One is smiling and the other is making a silly face.

As you saw from our friends at Android, we’ve partnered with BMW to enable digital car key for Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. On select 2020-2022 BMW models in certain countries, you can now unlock and lock your car by tapping your phone on the door handle, and you can start your car by placing your Pixel on the interior key reader and pressing the engine start button.

And ultra-wideband is now enabled on Pixel 6 Pro. This technology improves Nearby Share so you can quickly and securely send files, videos, map locations and more to other ultra-wideband devices nearby.

Personalize your devices

Conversation mode, an early-stage accessibility feature in the Sound Amplifier app, is now available in beta first on Pixel. This feature uses on-device machine learning to help anyone better hear conversations in loud environments by tuning into their conversation partner and tuning out competing noise. While Google Research continues to work on conversation mode you can get a sneak peek as an early tester and help make it better for everyone.

Animated GIF showing how Sound Amplifier works. A person's face is centered in a circle in the middle of the phone and while they speak, abstract sound icons illustrate the app amplifying their words.

Have you ever heard a catchy new track, but have no idea what it is? We’ve updated the Now Playing experience on Pixel to help you find your next favorite song. As always, Now Playing's automatic recognition is done entirely on-device. If Now Playing hasn’t automatically identified a song playing nearby, turn on the new search button and tap to let Pixel find it for you (available on Pixel 4 or newer Pixel phones). And if you’re really digging it, smash that music note icon next to the track’s recognition on your lock screen to save it as a favorite.

Animated GIF showing how Now Playing recognizes songs that are playing nearby on a Pixel phone.

On-screen experience is simulated for illustrative purposes. Now Playing may not recognize every song.

Speaking of music: We’re also introducing improved bass-level control for the Pixel Buds A-Series. With any Android 6.0+ device, you can now open the Pixel Buds app and use a slider to adjust bass from -1 to +4, giving you twice the bass range you currently have.

We've also added to our wallpapers. In celebration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we collaborated with Dana Kearly, a disabled multidisciplinary artist from Vancouver B.C., to create three beautiful new wallpapers for the Curated Culture collection.

Image showing a Wallpaper by Dana Kearly on a Pixel phone lock screen. It has cartoon flowers standing up on grass with an abstract pink, yellow, purple and orange background behind them.

Wallpaper by Dana Kearly.

Car crash detection and Recorder

Car crash detection is now supported in Taiwan, Italy and France, in addition to Spain, Ireland, Japan, the U.K., Australia, Singapore and the U.S. When car crash detection is turned on in the Personal Safety app, your Pixel 3, Pixel 4 or newer Pixel phone can help detect if you’ve been in a severe car accident. If a crash is detected, your phone will check in with you to see if you’re OK. If there’s no response, Pixel can share your location and other relevant details with emergency responders. (This feature is dependent upon network connectivity and other factors and may not be reliable for emergency communications or available in all areas.)

And while car crash detection is expanding to new countries, we’re also enabling new languages for transcription in the Recorder app. These include Japanese, French and German on Pixel 3 and newer Pixel phones.

If you want to learn more about these updates visit our Pixel forum. Otherwise, that’s all for now — until our next Feature Drop!

Record a lecture, name that song: Pixel 4 uses on-device AI

Pixel 4 is our latest phone that can help you do a lot of stuff, like take pictures at night or multitask using the Assistant. With on-device AI, your camera can translate foreign text or quickly identify a song that’s playing around you. Everything needed to make these features happen is processed on your phone itself, which means that your Pixel can move even quicker and your information is more secure. 

Lens Suggestions

When you point your camera at a phone number, a URL, or an email address using Pixel, Google Lens already helps you take action by showing you Lens Suggestions. You can call the number, visit the URL or add the email address to your contact with single tap. Now, there are even more Lens Suggestions on Pixel 4. If you’re traveling in a foriegn country and see a language you can’t read, just open your camera and point it at the text, and you’ll see a suggestion to Translate that text using Lens. For now, this works on English, Spanish, German, Hindi, and Japanese text, with more to come soon. 

There are also Lens Suggestions for copying text and scanning a document, which are processed and recognized on-device as well. So if you point your camera at a full page document, you’ll see a suggestion to scan it and save it for later using Lens. 


Lens will prompt you with a suggestion to translate foreign text, which happens on device. Then, you’ll see the translation in your native language.


Remember that time you were in a brainstorm, and everyone had good ideas, but no one could remember them the next day? Or that meeting when you weren’t paying attention because you were too busy taking notes? With the Recorder app on Pixel 4, you can record, transcribe and search for audio clips. It automatically transcribes speech and tags sounds like applause (say your great idea was met with cheers!), music or whistling, and more, so you can find exactly what you’re looking for. You can search within a specific recording, or your entire library of recordings, and everything you record stays on your phone and private to you. We're starting with English for transcription and search, with more languages coming soon.

Now Playing

Now Playing is a Pixel feature that identifies songs playing around you. If that song gets stuck in your head and you want to play it again later, Now Playing History will play it on your favorite streaming service (just find the song you want, tap it to listen to it on Spotify, YouTube Music and more). On Pixel 4, Now Playing uses a privacy-preserving technology called Federated Analytics, which figures out the most frequently-recognized songs on Pixel devices in your region, without collecting individual audio data from your phone. This makes Now Playing even more accurate because the database will update with the songs people are most likely to hear (without Google ever seeing what you listen to).

With so much processing happening directly on your Pixel 4, it’s even faster to access the features that make you love being a #teampixel member. Pre-order Pixel 4 or head out to your local AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint store on October 24.