Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


Google's December Pixel feature drop is out now: Here's what's included

New features include improved voice audio, free VPN access, Fitbit Sleep profiles, and more customization options.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer
Google Pixel 7 Snow in hand.
June Wan/ZDNET

Google on Monday announced its December Pixel Feature Drop for the Pixel phone lineup and the more recently released Pixel Watch smartwatch. Google releases feature drops, such as this one, on a roughly quarterly basis, bringing new features to its own Pixel hardware. 

When Google announced the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, the company also unveiled that Pixel 7 owners would receive access to its VPN service through Google One for free. The feature wasn't available at launch, but it's ready now and arriving in the update. 

Pixel 7 users can turn on the free VPN service to keep their data protected when connected to Wi-Fi on a plane, in a coffee shop or even at a hotel. 

Also: The 4 best Google Pixel phones

Google also added new features to security and privacy settings, allowing you to see the status of your device's security and, if needed, help you take action. 

One of the more anticipated features (at least for me) is the addition of clear calling for the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. When enabled, the voice of the other caller's voice will be enhanced with reduced background noise, even if they're in a loud environment. 

Google December Pixel Feature Drop
Google/Screenshots by Jason Cipriani

Another voice-related feature received a fairly big update in the December drop, as well. The Pixel's Recorder app will now label different speakers in the live transcription feature, making it easier to identify when someone is talking. After the recording is complete, you can name each speaker. 

As for the Pixel Watch, it's receiving an update as well. This update brings Fitbit's Sleep Profile feature to the watch, which will break down your sleep patterns and habits, and provide tips to help you improve your sleep quality. 

Review: Google Pixel Watch: Not the Apple Watch of Android (yet)

A new live bloom wallpaper is making its debut on Pixel phones, and there are new tiles on the Pixel Watch to track the sunrise and sunset. There is also the ability to pin up to five favorite contacts on a tile, so you can call or message them. 

If you have a Pixel phone or watch, you can download the update starting today. It's not currently showing as available on my Pixel 7 Pro, but I'm sure it'll be there soon. 

Editorial standards