Google Pixels are getting loads of new features — what you need to know

Pixel 4a 5g
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Google’s Pixel range already has a great array of features, but there’s always room for more. Today is the day that the latest “feature drop” hits Pixel devices, bringing with it a bunch more cool features for you to try.

Google’s software-driven approach means this kind of thing happens a lot. Among this month’s new features are the ability to share audio recordings, an underwater photography option, new Pixel Stand features and more. There are even improvements to AR performance on the horizon.

Google Recorder app

google pixel recorder update

(Image credit: Google)

The Pixel’s Recorder app is one of the best features available on Google phones, since it will record and automatically transcribe your conversations. Thankfully, Google has now realized people want to share those recordings, or at the very least back them up. All recordings will automatically back up to Google Drive, with multi-device access enabled through a dedicated Recorder webpage.

This also means you can share links to files, so anyone can listen to what happened. Even if they don’t actually have a Pixel phone.

Underwater photography

google pixel underwater photography

(Image credit: Google)

Underwater photography is more of a partnership than a new feature, per se. Google has teamed up with Kraken Sports, meaning you can use the company’s Universal Smart Phone Housing with your Pixel. Because it’s not a good idea to take your phone underwater for long periods of time, especially salt water, even if it is IP68 water resistant.

The idea here is that all your Pixel’s camera features are available, while the phone itself is safely stored inside Kraken’s diving case. You just need to be serious about underwater photography, because those cases cost $325 and are not really what you’d call impulse purchases.

Smart compose keyboard 

google pixel smart response gboard

(Image credit: Google)

Other features coming include Smart Compose in Gboard, which utilizes machine learning to help complete your sentences as you write. There's also heart and respiration monitoring in Google Fit and special wallpapers for International Women’s Day

The Pixel Stand is also getting an upgrade, with new prompts that will help “ease you into sleep”. This feature won’t be available on Pixel 3a or Pixel 4a.

Augmented reality upgrade

While not rolling out now, Android Police has also discovered that Google is updating its augmented reality SDK for Pixel devices. The changelog includes “Dual camera stereo depth on supported devices”, suggesting that some devices will be utilizing two camera lenses for better AR support.

This update is supposed to be rolling out in the coming weeks, but only on the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. The Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a may get support in the near future, but since their cameras have ultrawide lenses rather than telephoto lenses, it may not be as effective.

It’s a very good time to be a Pixel owner.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.