Google's new AI Core update for Pixel 8 Pro will boost its powers and performance

Pixel 8 Pro owners, rejoice: Google's latest update will improve your phone's overall performance and ensure that it has the latest, greatest AI.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Google Pixel 8 Pro AI Wallpaper
June Wan/ZDNET

Christmas may come early for Google 8 Pro users, by way of an AI Core update. This update focuses on the AI power on the phone, which empowers the Pixel 8 Pro smart features (such Magic Eraser and Photo Unblur for the camera and Google Assistant). Of course, AI powers more than just the camera and Assistant. 

Also: Google Pixel 8 Pro review: This phone sold me on an AI-powered future

The AI Core app provides AI functionality while running as a background service. The eventual goal with AI is to roll out generative text and image capabilities across Pixel devices -- and the AI Core app is a step toward this reality.  Of course, this first update won't suddenly empower your Pixel phone to generate AI images for you. That takes more processing power than a phone can supply. However, it will (most likely) eventually be able to access Google's massive cloud processing power to make this a reality. 

Google has not provided many specifics about  AI Core. In fact, the app listing in the Google Play Store offers very little descriptive information. Scroll to the bottom and you'll find this in the "About this App" section:

AI Core powers features across Android and provides apps with the latest AI models.

However, if you glance at the included listing images, you see the following: 

AI-driven features run directly on your device, using the latest foundation models. To keep those features smart, your device updates the AI models automatically, and AI Core manages these updates while providing AI functionality to other apps.

From that description, we can deduce that AI Core is responsible for keeping the foundation models updated and providing AI functionality to apps on your device.

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

Given that Google has gone all in on AI for Pixel devices, that's a rather important service. With the update, features like Magic Eraser will not only work faster but smarter. On top of that, all apps that depend on AI will have access to the latest Foundation Models, of which there are three:

  • Imagen Model Family - image generation and editing models
  • Codey - empowers developers to be more productive and creative
  • Chirp - models for automatic speech recognition in more than 100 languages

This first AI Core update will give Pixel phones access to the latest versions of those models (as well as new AI features for your hardware and installed software). 

There is currently no timetable for when the Core AI update will be available. I've checked my Pixel 8 Pro and it has yet to land on my device. When the update is first released, it will only be available to the Pixel 8 Pro but is expected to roll out to other Pixel devices soon. 

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