Google is giving the Pixel smartphones some really cool features as part of its next bundle of software updates. The focus is on personal safety and better sleep, among other updates and features. Google says the updates are now rolling out to Pixel phones and should be arriving on all Pixel phones in the coming days. The new features that you should expect include Safety Check, bedtime feature for the Clock, adaptive battery improvements and the new-found interconnect between Google Docs, Recorder and Google Assistant apps.
The highlight certainly has to be the updated Personal Safety app. After Google added the car crash detection last year, the company says that feature will now extend to support the Pixel 3 series as well. The Personal Safety app will also no longer be limited to just the Pixel 4 phones but will be available for all Pixel phones. The newly added Safety Check feature is designed for individuals who may be outdoors alone, be it walking somewhere, out for a trek or simply doing an outdoor run to stay healthy. Google says that the Personal Safety app will require you to check-in at a scheduled time—and in case you don’t, all your emergency contacts will be notified. “In the event that you need immediate help or are in a dangerous situation, emergency sharing notifies all of your emergency contacts and shares your real-time location through Google Maps so they can send help or find you,” says Google.
The onus remains on you to schedule a safety check and tell your phone when you are heading out alone. The way this works is that you open the Safety app on your Pixel phone and tap Safety check. Then you select your Reason and Duration for stepping outdoors. You can set the next check for anywhere between 15 minutes to 8 hours from that time. You tap on Next and select your contacts. You select Turn on. You will be notified when you need to check in next.
At this time, it isn’t clear which countries will get the check-in feature as part of the Personal Safety app but the app will be rolling out to all Pixel phones globally.
Google is also giving the Clock app more powers. There is a new bedtime feature that can put you to sleep with calming sounds. The phone will also limit notifications and interruptions during this time. In the morning, the Clock app in your Pixel phone will get you to wake up to your favorite music if you choose that option or set the Sunrise Alarm for you. in case you stay awake well past your bedtime, the app will give you a snapshot of how long you stayed awake and what all apps you used on the phone at the time.
Google says the new Bedtime Clock features will roll out for all Pixel 2, Pixel 3, Pixel 3a, and Pixel 4 phones globally.
Google is also enhancing the Adaptive Battery feature on Pixel 2 and newer Pixel phones to improve prediction of when the battery charge will deplete completely, and further reduces app activity in the background.
The improved Adaptive Battery features will be available on all Pixel 2, Pixel 3, Pixel 3a, and Pixel 4 phones globally.
The Google Assistant is also getting the ability to start audio recordings for you. Simply call out “Hey Google, start recording my meeting” and Assistant will invoke the recorder app to start working. You can then save the transcript in Google Docs.
While the new Google Assistant capabilities will be available only on the Pixel 4 for the time being, the Google Docs transcript feature will be available for all Pixel 2, Pixel 3, Pixel 3a, and Pixel 4 phones globally.