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The next big Pixel feature drop is here and brings a few fun new options

The latest quarterly Pixel update has arrived for Pixel devices, and adds a few new options (but, sadly, not face unlock).
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer on
pixel-7-and-pixel-7-pro-family.jpg
Image: Google

The latest Android quarterly feature drop for Pixel devices is here. It was rumored that Google was finally bringing face unlock to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro but, unfortunately, that is not to be. And although none of the new features are deal-breakers or makers, there is a bit of fun to be had in the new additions.

Let's take a look at what's been added to Android 12 on the Pixel devices.

Pocket operator

This new feature is only available to the Pixel 5 and 6 phones and makes it possible to shoot a video with your phone and then turn the sounds from that video into music, add filters and layers to the video to give it a fresh and exciting look. 

This new app isn't installed with the feature drop but is available from within the Play Store to install on Pixel 5 and 6 devices. This app uses a combination of the Pixel video camera as a sampling tool and utilizes Google's TensorFlow machine learning to analyze and categorize samples which you can use to create unique drum and sample kits. From those kits (Figure 1), you can mix live or record from your video clips.

The Pocket Operator App on Android 12.

Figure 1: Creating sample kits from a video of my turntable.

Image: Jack Wallen

Digital vaccination card

Google has also added the ability for citizens of Australia, Canada, or the United States to take a screenshot of their COVID vaccination card and place it on their home screen so it can be brought up at any time.

At a glance, updates

If you use a Nest Doorbell, you can now view live video streams directly from the doorbell cameral within the At A Glance tool. The At A Glance tool will also now warn you if you've left your flashlight on (which can be a battery drain) as well as air quality alerts for Australia, India, and the United States.

Miscellaneous updates

A few other additions are brought to you by the latest quarterly update. 

These include:

  • The Sound Amplifier app now includes Conversation Mode, which is a feature for people with hearing loss. With the help of the phone's camera, the app will amplify sounds they want to hear (such as a voice) and place all other sounds in the background.
  • Real Tone Filters are now available for Google Photos, which vastly improve skin tones.
  • Car Crash Detection is now available in Canada.
  • Chat Translation for Pixel 6/6 Pro now supports the Traditional Chinese, Dutch, Korean, Thai, and Turkish languages.
  • New Pride Month wallpapers are available in the Pixel Curated Culture Collection (Figure 2).
The System Update window in Android 12.

Figure 2: The new Pride Month wallpapers are available.

Image: Jack Wallen

How to check for the update

To check for the update, open Settings and go to System > System update. Tap Check for update (Figure 3), and if the feature drop is available, follow the on-screen instructions to install it.

The Android 12 update window.

Figure 3: Checking for an update in Android 12.

Image: Jack Wallen

No, we faithful Android users did not get the one feature we really wanted (face unlock for the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro). Hopefully, that addition will come along for the ride in Android 13. Until then, enjoy these new features.

Also: Android 13: How to sign up and install Beta 1 on your Android phone -- and why you should wait

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