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Google Issues the June 2023 Pixel Feature Drop, and It’s a Big One

Posted June 13, 2023 | Android | Fitbit | Google | Google Pixel | Mobile | Pixel Feature Drop | Pixel Watch | Windows

Google today announced the rollout of the June 2023 Feature Drop, which includes updates for Pixel phones, Pixel Watch, and Fitbit devices.

“Our latest Feature Drop is here, and it’s jam-packed with helpful tools and updates for your Pixel Phone, Pixel Watch, and Fitbit devices,” Google director Shenaz Zack writes in the announcement post. “These begin rolling out to devices today and will continue over the next few weeks.”

There’s a lot here.

Pixel phones

Here’s what’s new for supported Pixel phones:

Safety check. You can ask Google Assistant on your Pixel phone to start emergency sharing or to schedule a safety check. For example, if you’re out for a night run, just say, “Hey Google, start a safety check for 30 minutes.” If you don’t respond to your safety check, your emergency contacts will be notified, and your real-time location will be shared.

Improved car crash detection. Available since 2019, car crash detection helps keep drivers with Pixel phones safe. Now, in addition to contacting emergency services, it will share your real-time location and call status with your emergency contacts too if desired.

Macro focus for videos. Pixel 7 Pro’s exclusive Macro Focus feature is now available for video too, so you can create videos of butterflies, flowers, or other small objects.

Gesture-based timer photos. Users with Pixel 6 or newer can now take self-timed photos by raising their palm. This will trigger the timer after it’s been set to 3 or 10 seconds.

Dynamic 3D and new emoji wallpapers. On Pixel 6 and newer phones, you can now use AI to transform standard 2D wallpaper photos into dynamic 3D scenes. And new emoji wallpapers let you mix and match over 4,000 emoji with different patterns and colors to create customized live wallpapers.

Improved Recorder. Starting next week, users with Pixel 6 and newer phones will be able to export Recorder transcripts into Google Docs, generate speaker-labeled video clips, and search for speakers within recordings.

Google Home improvements. The Google Home app will bring its smart home controls to the Pixel lock screen for easier access. And you can use the app’s redesigned home panel to turn off lights, adjust the temperature, see your cameras, and more.

Improved haptics. Pixel 6a and Pixel 7a users can now lower their phone’s haptic vibration intensity when it detects that it’s on a hard, flat surface like a desk or table.

Improved Adaptive charging. Adaptive Charging now uses AI to help extend the lifespan of your phone’s battery. When you plug in your phone, it can predict a long charging session based on your previous charging habits, and slowly charge to 100 percent one hour before it’s usually unplugged.

New Google Assistant voices. Google Assistant now offers two new voices, bringing the total to 12 in U.S. English.

Pixel Watch

Pixel Watch is also getting several new features, including what is likely the number one request. They are:

SpO2 monitoring. Pixel Watch can now check your oxygen saturation (SpO2) and help you identify changes in your blood oxygen levels while you’re sleeping.

High and low heart rate notifications. Pixel Watch already continuously tracks your heart rate, but it can now send you a notification if your heart rate is unusually high or low.

Google Assistant in more languages. Google Assistant for Wear OS is now available in new languages and locales, including Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Polish, and Spanish.

Spotify. Spotify for Wear OS is now available with three new tiles.

Auto-Pause exercises. Pixel Watch will automatically pause a run, walk or bike exercise if you pause and then automatically resume tracking once you start again.

Fitbit trackers and smartwatches

I’m not sure if this is a first, but I was surprised to see Fitbit tracker and smartwatch features included in this Feature Drop. They are:

New exercise modes. The Exercise menu on Fitbit Charge 5, Inspire 3, and Luxe trackers will feature a full list of exercise modes to choose from, with your most recent workout modes at the top. So you don’t need to open the Fitbit mobile app to adjust the list manually anymore.

Daily Readiness. All Fitbit smartwatches and trackers will now let you check your Daily Readiness Score right on the device.

New menstrual health tile. Fitbit Sense 2 and Versa 3 now offer a way to log periods, view your cycle state, and edit information without needing to open your phone.

Notifications in more languages. Fitbit Sense 2, Versa 4, Charge 5, Inspire 3, and Luxe now support notifications in more languages, including Arabic, Hindi, Vietnamese, and more.

Switch clock styles on device. On Fitbit Sense 2 and Versa 4, you can now change your clock face by long pressing on the home screen.

Four new clock faces. Charge 5, Inspire 3, and Luxe now support four new clock faces in the Fitbit app gallery.

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