It’s time for a Feature Drop! Google hit us with the news on Monday, December 6th, announcing a handful of fun new features for the Pixel series of devices. While not all features are available on all Pixels, there are is something new for everyone as long as you have a Pixel 3 or later. That said, the update is not here yet on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro; Google says these users will see the update sometime next week.
Quick tap to snap
This catchy name represents a feature of every avid Snapchat user on Pixel. With this latest update, you will now be able to launch Snapchat directly from the lock screen by setting Snapchat as a Quick Tap action. This feature is available for Pixel 4a with 5G and later.
Digital car key
There will soon come a day when you can really leave your house with nothing but your smartphone. Google is bringing Pixel users one step closer to that reality with its first rollout of digital car keys. This feature, which is exclusive to selected 2020-2022 BMW models (in relevant countries), allows you to lock and unlock your car door by simply pressing your phone on the handle, as well as start the car by treating the Pixel as a key fob .
This feature is exclusive to Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.
Ultra broadband is finally here
Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are equipped with ultra-broadband features, but Google disabled the feature at launch. With this latest update, UWB is finally here; the biggest sale is Nearby Share, which lets you send photos, videos, files and other types of data to other UWB-enabled devices.
Now playing automatically identifies songs
If you hear a new song you like, you no longer need to ask your phone what is playing. Just take a look at your Pixels lock screen and if your phone can identify it, you will see the song title at the bottom of the screen. To save the song as a favorite for later listening, simply tap the note next to the title.
Customize activation of Google Assistant from the power button
You can now choose how long or short you need to hold down your Pixel’s power button before activating the assistant.
Conversation mode (beta)
This feature, which is still in beta, helps you focus on the conversation at hand and tune out background noise when using earphones or headphones. All the processing included in this feature takes place on the device, so Google never sees any of the data generated by your conversations.
Google added three new wallpapers to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The new works come from artist Dana Kearly and can be found in the Curated Culture section.
Extension of car accident registration
Car accident registration, a great feature already found in Spain, Ireland, Japan, UK, Australia, Singapore and USA, is now coming to Taiwan, Italy and France for Pixel 3 and newer.
Records app extension
Similarly, the Recorder app has now expanded its library of languages. You can now see transcripts available in Japanese, French and German, also on Pixel 3 and later.
Bonus: Pixel Buds A-Series gets a base boost
This is not a Pixel feature, but Google highlighted it, and so will we. On any Android 6.0 or later phone, you can use the Pixel Buds app to boost the bass from -1 to +4. According to Google, this is double Buds’ original bass range.
You can watch Google’s promotional video for many of these new features here: