Google has introduced several features in its December update for Pixel devices. Some of the features that have been included in the new update are available on devices like Google Pixel 3 and later, whereas many are exclusive to the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5. Only the Pixel 4a is available in India, though the 5G version is not sold here.
There’s a new Hold for Me feature lets users use Google Assistant to wait on the line and informs when someone is ready to talk. This feature comes in handy for business calls when you are put on hold for several minutes. But this is limited to the US users.
Other features that are available on Pixel 3, Pixel 3a and Pixel 4a (devices sold in India) are Extreme Battery Saver, Screen sharing in Duo group calls, contextual translation, Now Playing playlist export, Home Screen customisation and new wallpapers.
The Extreme Battery Saver comes in handy as limits the usage to only essential apps when it is turned on. This feature will help the battery last longer than before. The screen sharing option over Duo calls is a notable feature especially during the Covid-19 pandemic when people are refraining from meeting each other to avoid the risk of contracting the virus. It lets users share screens in video calls to watch the same videos and plan other activities.
Google Lens has been enhanced in the new update as well to help users translate to their native language. All you need to do is to take a screenshot of that particular text by swiping up in the recent apps overview.
The ‘Now Playing’ playlist export is an interesting new feature as it will store all the tracks you listen to throughout the day on TV or while driving. This history which can be later exported to YouTube music since Google Music will become obsolete in near future.
Home screen customisation is something that has been Android’s forte for a while now. Users will be able to use new icon shapes, grid views, app shapes along with custom wallpapers from Google Arts and Culture. Also, original Mandalorian wallpapers will be coming to Pixel devices which is something that will be appreciated by Star Wars fans.
Updates for other Android devices
Along with the updates for Pixel devices, there are plenty of other features that will be available for other Android users in the December update or later. Here’s a look at the new features:
# The Emoji kitchen is getting updated from hundreds of emojis to over 14,000 unique design combinations. Users will be able to simply tap on two emojis and Gboard will show suggestions based on their combinations or an intense version of particular emoji when double tapping on it. The new version will be available on devices running on Android 6 and above. The holiday season stickers can be simply used by downloading Gboard on Google Play.
# In order to assist the differently-abled who face trouble using their phones, the Voice Access will let them navigate using different commands like “open Photos”, “tap Search”, “tap Your Map” and others. The feature that will make navigation easy will also be available on devices running on Android 6.0 and above.
# Google Maps is getting an update as well with the new Go tab. Users will be able to pin their favourite or frequent driving destinations like home, office, coffee shops etc and will be provided an Estimate Time of Arrival (ETA) based on traffic trends, disruptions and other factors. It will also be applicable for those choosing to travel by public transport. Multiple routes can also be pinned for a particular destination. Along with Android devices, this update will also be available on iOS devices.
# Nearby Share will let you share apps with devices nearby even if your phone does not have Wi-Fi or 4G/5G connection. All you need to know is to do tap on “Share Apps” menu in “My Apps & Games” followed by the apps you intend to share. The receiver just needs to tap on accept to receive the apps. The update is expected to be rolled out in the coming few weeks.
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