Google’s December Pixel Feature Drop Arrives, With AI Features Reserved for Pixel 8 Pro

Google’s Pixel Fold also gets a new camera feature with this update

Google’s December Pixel Feature Drop Arrives, With AI Features Reserved for Pixel 8 Pro

The December update for Pixel devices is the last one for 2023

Highlights
  • This Feature Drop also includes updates for Pixel Fold, Tablet, and Watch
  • Google’s Gemini Nano AI model powers some on-device AI features
  • The rollout for the same will continue over the next few weeks
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Google's last Pixel Feature Drop for 2023, has finally arrived. It brings a ton of new features that will arrive on new and recent Pixel smartphones. Some of these updates also have features that trickle down to other Pixel ecosystem devices. While the highlight of this update includes some new generative AI features that use Google's recently announced Gemini Nano AI model, these are currently tied down to the Pixel 8 Pro only. Still, there's plenty to look forward to for those who own older Pixel devices as well.

Google today introduced its new Gemini AI model which has been made available in three different sizes – Ultra, Pro and Nano. According to Google, Gemini Nano is the most efficient model and is the one being used in the Pixel 8 Pro in particular to handle some AI generated tasks locally on the smartphone, without the need to be connected to the internet or the cloud. This includes a new Summarise feature in the Recorder app, which will deliver summaries of recorded conversations, interviews and more without connecting to the internet. Another Gemini Nano AI-driven feature is Smart Reply which has been made available in the GBoard keyboard app. The feature is currently available as a developer preview and works with certain apps only (will be coming to more apps next year). Pixel 8 Pro owners can demo the feature in WhatsApp currently letting them automatically generate replies based on the current chat conversation.

Moving away from the Gemini Nano model, the Pixel 8 Pro gains another feature that according to Google utilises its Tensor G3 processor. Video Boost will now be available for Pixel 8 Pro owners. After enabling the feature in the camera app, all users have to do is shoot a video like they normally would, while Google saves a separate copy of the same video in a different format. Once both videos are uploaded to the cloud, Google's computational photography models will adjust parameters like colour, lighting, stabilisation, and graininess, helping make videos appear better. Video Boost also works with Night Sight video (once again on Pixel 8 Pro) resulting in videos that have richer colour and more detail once processed in the cloud. The end product is then downloaded back to the phone and replaces the original recorded video on it.

pixel feature drop december 2023 smart replies ndtv PixelFeatureDrop  Google

The new Smart Reply feature works with WhatsApp
Photo Credit: Google

 

Both Pixel 8 Pro and the Pixel 8 owners will also get access to a new Night Sight timelapse feature (found in the same camera mode) letting them shoot timelapse videos with better dynamic range and overall clarity.

The Pixel Fold, apart from the new tools mentioned above, also gets access to a Dual Screen Preview. It lets your subjects view themselves when shooting a photo by looking at themselves in the second preview on the Fold's cover display.

Moving to older devices (Pixel 7 Pro up to the Pixel 6a), a new Portrait Light tool is available in the Photos app that lets users get rid of harsh shadows and improve the overall lighting of any photos that are stored on the same app, regardless of whether it was shot on a Pixel or not. The Photo Unblur tool also gets some added functionality and now works with dogs and cats as well. Once again, this works regardless of where the source image comes from. Users can also use their Pixel phones as webcam by simply plugging in the USB cable into a computer and selecting ‘Webcam' in USB preferences. There's also a Clean feature which can help remove smudges, stains and more from scanned documents.

pixel feature drop december 2023 repair mode ndtv PixelFeatureDrop  Google

Repair Mode finally comes to Pixel devices
Photo Credit: Google

 

Photo and camera-centric features aside, Google's push for passkeys gets stronger with Password Manager now being able to identify apps, services or accounts that support the same, letting you add them when available.

Call Screen, a feature that's not available in India yet, now makes its way to the Pixel Watch. Owners of the Pixel Watch can now also automatically unlock other Pixel devices when nearby, reducing the need to manually enter a password to unlock them, in case your hands are busy. Users of the first gen Pixel Watch can now also sync their Do Not Disturb and Bedtime Modes from one device to the other. Pixel Tablet also gets AI-enhanced Clear Calling and now supports spatial audio with head tracking when connected to Pixel Buds Pro.

Last but not the least comes the much-awaited Repair Mode. The feature basically keeps your personal data protected when handing over your Pixel device to a service centre for repairs. It mainly reduces the need for users to format or erase their devices when getting them serviced.

You can head here to check whether your Pixel device supports a particular feature from the December Feature Drop. The update is rolling out gradually and will reach supported Pixel devices over the next weeks.


Is the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 the best foldable phone you can buy in India right now? We discuss the company's new clamshell-style foldable handset on the latest episode of Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Premium design, IP68 rating
  • Fun AI-infused software experience
  • Good quality cameras
  • Quality video recording
  • Impressive image editing software
  • Long-term commitment to software updates
  • Bad
  • Gets warm under load
  • Buggy camera app
  • Not made for gaming
  • Average battery life
  • Relatively slow wired charging
Display 6.70-inch
Processor Google Tensor G3
Front Camera 11-megapixel
Rear Camera 50-megapixel + 64-megapixel + 48-megapixel
RAM 12GB
Storage 128GB, 256GB
Battery Capacity 5050mAh
OS Android 14
Resolution 1344x2992 pixels
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Smaller form factor makes it more comfortable to hold
  • Excellent and bright display
  • Cameras are still the best
  • Packed with AI features
  • Bad
  • Battery life is still not the best
  • Expensive
  • Tends to heat up under heavy load
Display 6.20-inch
Processor Google Tensor G3
Front Camera 11-megapixel
Rear Camera 50-megapixel + 12-megapixel
RAM 8GB
Storage 128GB, 256GB
Battery Capacity 4575mAh
OS Android 14
Resolution 1080x2400 pixels
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Sharp, 120Hz display
  • Good quality cameras
  • Good gaming performance
  • Bloatware-free software, timely updates
  • Premium design, IP68 rating
  • Bad
  • Gets warm under load
  • No bundled charger
  • Underwhelming battery life
  • Relatively slow charging
Display 6.70-inch
Processor Google Tensor G2
Front Camera 10.8-megapixel
Rear Camera 50-megapixel + 48-megapixel + 12-megapixel
RAM 12GB
Storage 128GB
OS Android 13
Resolution 1440x3120 pixels
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Sheldon Pinto
Sheldon Pinto is based in Mumbai, and has several years of experience in reviewing smartphones and gadgets. As a Senior Reviewer at Gadgets 360, you will always find him deeply immersed in his reviews, switching from one phone to another. When the battery dies out, Sheldon is always browsing the web for a good sci-fi movie or reading up on cars and bikes. He also loves creating lists of interesting places to eat and travel. Sheldon is available on Twitter at @shellshocd, and you can mail him at ...More
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