We don’t typically see Pixel Feature Drops unless we have reached time for a quarterly Android update to hit Pixel devices. As an example, we received the December Feature Drop with a big quarterly update and then immediately started testing the upcoming March quarterly update, where we assumed the next Feature Drop would land alongside it.
Well, Google just surprised us all with a January Pixel Feature Drop that includes a number of new features, many of which are a part of the Galaxy S24 launch.
What’s new in the January Pixel Feature Drop? Let’s talk through it all.
PIXEL 8 IN MINT is here. Yep, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro now come in a Mint color. We have more on the release at this post.
PIXEL 8 PRO TEMPERATURE SENSOR works on you. The silly temperature sensor that Google put in the Pixel 8 Pro can finally take your temperature. Rather than being a sensor to take the temperature of odd objects throughout your life, you can reverse the phone to take your own temperature or point it at someone else. Those recordings can also be added to Fitbit, should you want to keep that sort of personal health history.
CIRCLE TO SEARCH has landed on Pixel phones. One of the coolest new features to show up with the Galaxy S24 is powered by Google and it’s called Circle to Search. We talked about it at length a week ago, but the basics are that it allows you to harness the power of Google Search with Google AI from any screen at any time to search for info. You can use it to pull info from a video, image, text, etc. This is available on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro only for now.
PHOTOMOJI because why not. Ever wanted to react in a text message with a freshly created and original emoji? That’s what Photomoji is. In Google Messages, you’ll press and hold on a message to react to, then choose the photo to make an emoji of, and then your phone will make that magic happen before sending it as a reaction. It looks pretty fun. Photomoji is available to the Pixel 3a+. You can see it in action here.
MAGIC COMPOSE will help you respond. I feel like Google has announced Magic Compose on several occasions, but it appears ready to fully rollout to the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro (only for now). When using Google Messages, Magic Compose allows AI to help you craft stylized and suggested responses to the conversation you are having. NOTE: Google says that Magic Compose is available globally where Bard is available, on-device with the Pixel 8 Pro, and using server models on the Pixel 6+.
THE NEW QUICK SHARE arrives on Pixel. Google and Samsung announced together that Quick Share would be the name of Android’s nearby sharing tool and it is now here. When revealed earlier in the month, they told us to expect it next month, but apparently it’s ready now?
SEAMLESS AUDIO SWITCHING with Pixel Buds Pro. If you have a pair of Pixel Buds Pro earbuds, they’ll soon automatically connect to different devices as needed. That could mean switching from music on your tablet to your phone for a call without manually making the move. The full range of support includes Pixel Watch and Watch 2, Pixel Tablet, and Pixel 5a+ phones.
Google says these new features are starting to rollout today, so that may mean you won’t get them immediately.