Google has just announced that Pixel 4 users will get the new Google Assistant starting from today, and this will have deeper integration with the phone and better speech processing so requests can happen locally on your Pixel 4 instead of having to be sent to the cloud.

Google Assistant has also been redesigned so it takes up less screen real estate, so you can better multitask. Meanwhile, context has also been implemented into Google Assistant as promised. You can now ask for Google Assistant to “show my photos from Bali”, then say “the ones at the beach” to get only pictures from the beach in Bali.

Besides these features, Pixel 2, 3, 3a and 4 phones will get new features as detailed in this blog post.

You can now add bokeh effects in post. GIF: Google

For one, you’ll now be able to apply Portrait Blur in post to images on your Pixel. As you can see in the image above, this done by way of a simple slider. Just make your adjustments, save the image as a new file and you’re done.

Call screening should help cut some of those nuisance calls. GIF: Google

Call Screen on Pixel 4 has also been updated so Google Assistant can automatically screen unknown callers and filter out detected robocalls so your phone doesn’t even ring when they come in.

When it’s not a robocall, your phone will ring a few moments later with helpful context about who is calling and why. This feature works on your Pixel itself, so doesn’t use Wi-Fi or data.

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Autozoom with Duo means you won’t have to keep shifting your phone to keep everyone in. GIF: Google

Pixel 4 users will also get better calls on Duo, with an auto-framing feature that keeps your face centred during your video calls, even as you move around.

If another person joins you in the shot, the camera will adjust to keep both of you in frame, taking advantage of the Pixel 4’s wide-angle lens.

Messy backgrounds can be made less distracting by blurring them. GIF: Google

When a bad connection leads to spotty audio, your Pixel 4 will also use machine learning to predict the likely next sound, reducing the disruptions to the audio feed.

The display will also refresh up to 90 times per second to reduce choppiness on your feed. Portrait filters have also been added to Duo video calls for Pixel 2, 3 and 4, so you can add bokeh effects to reduce the impact of a messy background.

Some additions for Pixel 2, 3 and 3a phones are as below:

  • The Recorder app will be added for older generations of Pixel.
  • Pixel 3 and 3a users will get Live Caption.
  • Digital Wellbeing is getting updates too. Focus mode will help you stay productive and minimise distractions by pausing apps you’ve selected in a single tap. You will now be able to set an automatic schedule, take a short break or end Focus mode early without disrupting your schedule.
  • Pixel 2 and 2XL will also have Flip to Shhh added to their Digital Wellbeing features.
  • With the latest update to Pixel 4, you’ll also get better accuracy in Google Maps with improved on-device computing for much better location quality.
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All Pixel devices will also get an update to their memory management so they proactively compress cached applications, letting you better multi-task.

This article was first published in Hardware Zone.



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