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New Pixel features drop, with big focus on health and safety
Wed, 3rd Jun 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Pixel has released new features with a specific focus on battery life, personal health and personal safety. These new features were covered off in a Google blog post by Pixel technical program manager Tok Tokuda.

Personal safety is a big focus for the new features. A dedicated app will be available for all Pixel devices, as opposed to only the Pixel device.

The app includes car crash detection, which is now available to Pixel 3 and 4. However, it is only accessible in certain countries and languages.

As an additional option in the realm of staying safe no matter where you are, users can enable crisis alerts in the Personal Safety app to get notifications about natural disasters or other public emergencies.

Safety specific features include safety check, which schedules a check-in from the app at a later time. This is useful if the user wants run or hike alone, for instance.

With the safety check feature, if the user doesn't respond to the scheduled check-in, the app will alert their emergency contacts. Furthermore, if the user needs immediate help or are in a dangerous situation, emergency sharing notifies all emergency contacts and shares real-time location through Google Maps so they can send help or find the user.

To take a step back from personal safety to personal health, Google has added a new bedtime feature in the Clock app to help users get better sleep.

The feature allows users to fall asleep to calming sounds and limits interruptions during the night. Furthermore, if a user stays up on their phone past their noted bedtime, they'll get a snapshot of how much time they're spending awake and on which apps.

Finally, each morning, users can wake up with their favorite track or with a gradually brighter screen via Sunrise Alarm.

Another key update for Google's Pixel are its adaptive battery improvements. At present, adaptive battery learns a user's favorite apps and reduces power to the ones rarely used.

Now, adaptive battery on Pixel 2 and newer devices can predict when the battery will run out and further reduce background activity to keep the phone powered longer.

Pixel also brings new functionality via the new Google Assistant. This includes updates to the Recorder app, including the ability to start, stop and search voice recordings using Google Assistant.

In order to make use of this capability, users must say “Hey Google, start recording my meeting,” or “Hey Google, show me recordings about dogs.” They can then save a transcript directly to Google Docs to share with others.

All of these features will be made available throughout June. The Pixel forum has more information about the new features and when updates will be available to different devices.