Google has released its third ‘feature drop’ software update for the Pixel 2, 3 and mainly 4, with the latter getting the most new stuff. That said, the fact 2017’s Pixel 2 and 2 XL are still getting new and useful software features in 2020 is great.
The first generation Pixel from 2016 is no longer supported with software updates, but the Pixel 2, 3, 3a and 4 still enjoy monthly security updates. Google additionally now sends quarterly ‘feature drops’ to all supported models with new software features.
blog post, Technical Program Manager Tok Tokuda lists the updates with improvements to Pixel’s Adaptive Battery feature up top. Adapative Battery already learns how you use your phone and adjusts power to apps depending on the patterns to save battery. Now, Pixel 2 and newer will be able to predict when you’ll run out of juice and further reduce background activity to try and keep your phone from dying.
Pixel 4 and
4 XL have awful battery life this is welcome news, if the feature actually works in any noticeable way.
Perhaps more immediately useful is that Google is bringing the Personal Safety app from the Pixel 4 to Pixel 1 (in a rare update), 2, 3 and 3a as well, though the car crash detection function is only on Pixel 3 and 4 (region depending).
The app can be updated via the Play Store but is accessed in Settings under About phone > Emergency Information. You can set a safety check which is useful for example when walking home late at night. It schedules a check in from the app at a time you set. If you don’t acknowledge it, it alerts your chosen emergency contacts and sends them your location in real time.
You can also choose to turn on crisis alerts to receive notifications about natural disasters or public emergencies in your region.
The feature drop also adds new features to Google’s Clock app, with a bedtime mode grayscaling the display to help you get off your phone at night when you shouldn’t be surfing the timeline.
Finally, the Recorder app gets cleverer too but only on the Pixel 4, with Assistant now able to trigger recordings with a “Hey Google, start recording my meeting” command. It now lets you save these transscripts to Google Docs directly, and you can search for recordings using Assistant by keyword.