Google to start regularly adding new features to Pixel phones with 'feature drops'

The Pixel line of phones will gain new call screen features, improved photo tools, Duo improvements, and new features coming to older Pixel phones.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer

Google on Monday announced that it will start routinely adding new features to its Pixel phone line, outside of the monthly software updates that primarily focus on security updates and bug fixes. The best part? The updates aren't focused on only the Pixel 4, but instead, Google is adding new features to its older devices. 

There are, however, some features Pixel 4 owners will get to take advantage of. Google is improving the Call Screen feature to identify and filter out robocalls. Google is also adding the ability to add a background blur to photos after they're captured. Normally you have to take a portrait photo and then you can adjust the background, but with the new feature, you can add it post-shot. 

Google's Duo video calling service will now center on your face during a call, even if you move around or someone else walks into the shot. 

The rest of the Pixel line, save for the original Pixel, can expect to see some meaningful updates as well. The Pixel 2, Pixel 3, and Pixel 3a will all gain access to the Recorder app that live-transcribes voice notes or memos. Live Caption, a feature that adds real-time transcriptions to any video or podcast playing on your device, is coming to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a. And the Pixel 2 is also getting Flip to Shhh, a feature that lets you place your phone face down and will temporarily silence any incoming calls and alerts. 

Google says the features and updates are rolling out to all compatible Pixel devices right now and will continue to roll out over the coming weeks. There isn't any indication of how often Google will do a "feature drop" for Pixel phones, but the blog post states they will occur on a "regular basis."

I'm glad to see that Google is taking a more proactive approach to improving the Pixel experience consistently. Previously there would be small updates or feature releases to Pixel phones, but often with no announcement. 

What do you think about Google's new approach? Let us know in the comments below.

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