Hey, Samsung. We're sure you're planning an upgraded camera for the Samsung Galaxy Note 20, and perhaps some extra smarts for the accompanying S Pen stylus. But now Google has just further rolled out a very cool feature on the Pixel 4 that could save thousands of lives, and you should build it into the Note 20.
To stay ahead of competitors such as the Google’s Pixel 4 phone and its Pixel series as a whole rely on the quality and breadth of their software features. To this end, Google has introduced “Feature Drop” updates for Pixels, giving its phones new exciting abilities far more regularly than you’d get with a standard OS update schedule.
- Read our Google Pixel 4 review
- The best Android phones in 2020
- Google news: Google Assistant just gained a feature Alexa can't match
The standout feature here is Car Crash Detection, which lets your phone recognize if you’ve been involved in a road accident and call your local emergency services, giving them location information if required.
This was originally a US-exclusive feature as part of the Personal Safety app, but it is now available in the UK and Australia. The app asks you if you need help if it detects a collision or roll, which you can answer with a tap or voice command. The app can give your location information to an emergency service worker if you are unable to respond, and we think that all Android phones should offer this essential functionality.
Also new in this update is new functionality for the power button. By holding it down, you can look through downloaded payment cards, tickets and passes in Google Pay, as well as medical information if you’re using a Pixel 4. This is much like you can do with a double tap of the side button on an iPhone to access the Apple Wallet, so Google’s smart to bring near-identical functionality to its own devices.
Other additions in the new Feature Drop include new AR stickers for Google Duo voice calls, improved photo effects for the Pixel 4’s selfie camera and a new Motion Sense air gesture that allows you to pause music on a Pixel 4, although it strikes us as odd that this wasn’t an option before now.
Users still hanging onto their Pixel 2 handsets will be glad to hear that they can now make use of Live Caption, Google’s ingenious automatic system that can add subtitles to all kinds of audio and video content without needing an internet connection.
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Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.