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Forget Gen Z: Google's new Pixel phones have "mom and pops" written all over them

Useful camera features, a new temperature sensor, and more make the latest Pixel the best phone for parents.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
Google Pixel 8 in Pink
June Wan/ZDNET

As Google took the New York City stage this week to unveil the latest Google Pixel 8 series and Pixel Watch 2, I couldn't help but notice how many new features were quintessential to my life as a parent.

Also: Every product unveiled at the Made by Google event this week

Parenting isn't easy; we know that. So having gadgets that make it easier to get through the hectic days isn't just smart; it's survival. Here's why the new Google Pixel 8 Pro is shaping up to be one of the best phones for parents who need all the help they can get.

1. A new temperature sensor

Using the temperature sensor on the Pixel 8 pro
June Wan/ZDNET

The Pixel 8 Pro has one eye-catching new feature that the iPhone (or pretty much any other phone) has yet to adopt: a new camera temperature sensor. If you're a parent, you've probably wished you had this more than once in your journey. 

Also: The September Android update rolls out for Pixel phones - with critical security patches

Think of eliminating the need to try your baby's milk to check that it isn't too hot or too cold, or when you want to check the bath water to ensure it won't burn your kid's skin, or when you're preparing dinner for a toddler and are wondering if it's too hot for their mouths. The list goes on, and the practicality of such a feature goes beyond parenting.

2. Google Assistant upgrades

Google Pixel 8 Pro camera bump
June Wan/ZDNET

AI is here to stay, and Google is banking on that. One of the coolest features announced during the Made by Google event was the upgrades to Google Assistant, the company's virtual voice assistant. 

The reach of Assistant has been expanded exponentially in 2023, first with the incorporation of generative AI and now with the new capacities Google is giving it. Assistant can better filter out spam calls -- and even screen calls for you. True to its name, it can now stay on hold and then prompt you to return to the call when the caller comes back on the line, allowing you to return to the conversation seamlessly.

Also: 4 AI-powered photo and video features on Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro giving us Google envy

But one of the most useful features is having Assistant answer calls for you with context-based quick responses that the AI can speak to the caller. As a parent, I can already think of how this would be helpful during family time or even to screen unknown calls, turning it on to ask unknown callers for their identity and the purpose of their call. 

A great example is when a delivery driver calls you when they arrive. The Assistant is now smart enough to understand the delivery driver's request and present you with a quick response option of "I'll be right there. Give me a second." Should you choose that response, the voice assistant will speak on your behalf in a natural-sounding voice.

3. AI-powered camera feature perfect for the 'gram

Google

Without question, the bread and butter of Google Pixel phones is the camera experience -- including what happens after you capture a shot. Google is upgrading some of these features with the newest Pixel 8 Pro, including a new Best Take photo editing tool that is as game-changing as it sounds.

Also: Google Pixel 8 Pro hands-on: Five features that have me excited

With three kids, I can confidently tell you that they consistently succeed at never looking at the camera while smiling simultaneously. The Pixel 8 Pro lets you edit family photos and swap out faces by checking the pictures in your photo album. Think of the last family photo you took -- they never come out right in one take. Someone always smiles and looks perfect while another person blinks, or one kid decides that the ceiling fan above is more interesting right that second. 

This AI-powered feature lets you easily edit those images and replace the less ideal facial expressions with happy, more photogenic ones. 

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