Google launched the Pixel 8 Series of smartphones in India in October 2023. The series included Google Pixel 8 and Google Pixel 8 Pro and came with not only new features but also different and unique colorways. Usually, Google drops new features quarterly and the first feature drop for Pixel 8 did happen in December 2023, which meant the next drop was planned for March 2024. However, Google was in a mood to surprise its users as the brand announced a January Feature Drop that includes 6 new capabilities. This is most likely the effect of Samsung’s recent Galaxy AI announcement.
Not only has Google announced a feature drop but also a fresh new color for its Pixel 8 devices. Read on to learn more.
Google Pixel 8 Series: January Feature Drop
1. Temperature Sensor works now
When Google announced the Pixel 8 Series in October it announced a temperature sensor that now works. Pixel 8 Pro comes with a temperature sensor that can measure your body temperature by reversing it. It can take anybody’s body temperature and the readings can be saved to the Fitbit app.
To do so, one has to place the camera bar close to the center of one’s forehead and tap the screen. You will feel a vibration which means you have to move the device across the forehead to your temple. This has to be done in a few seconds and another vibration will confirm a successful measurement.
2. Circle to Search
Following the Galaxy S24 Series, Google has also announced Circle to Search for Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. It is one of the coolest new features and allows you to harness the power of Google Search with Google AI from any screen at any time to search for the information you need. The feature allows you to pull up information from a video, image, text, or anything else. It is available for the Pixel 8 series as of now.
To use the feature long-press the home button or gesture navigation bar which will bring up the Google Search bar and a purplish animation that signals now you can circle over anything to obtain more information about it.
Photomoji allows you to react to a text message using an emoji that has just been created by you. In Google messages, press and hold on to a message to react to it. Next, choose the photo to make an emoji of and your pixel will make it happen before sending it as a reaction. There is a separate Photomoji tab as well where you will find past creations and stickers. Pixel 3a+ came with Photomoji.
4. Magic Compose
Magic Compose will allow the on-device Gemini Nano model to suggest replies and remix others in various styles- Remix, Excited, Chill, Lyrical, Short, Shakespeare, etc. Google has announced Magic Compose in the past too but it is now that the device has become completely functional. It is available on Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro and allows the AI to make and suggest responses for a conversation.
5. All-New Quick Share
Google has rebranded Quick Share with a new icon and UI. The brand has partnered with Samsung to make Quick Share Android’s nearby sharing tool.
6. Seamless Audio Switching
Seamless Audio Switching is available for Google Pixel Buds Pro, Pixel Watch, and Pixel Watch 2. Earlier it was available on Pixel Tablet and Pixel Smartphones. This allows quickly connect and play music on your wearable. This will also include switching from music on your tab to your phone for a call without manually doing it. Support comes on Pixel 5A+ as well.
Note- All these features have started rolling out immediately, so there’s no waiting time involved.
For those of you who need a recap, Google dropped the following features in December 2023-
- Summarize in Recorder
- Smart Reply in Gboard
- Video boost with Night Sight
- Night Sight in Time Lapse
- Portrait Light in Google Photos
- Photo Unblur for Pets
- Pixel phone as webcam
- Clean image feature
- Pixel Fold dual screen preview
- Repair mode
- Passkeys in a password manager
- Call screen replies
- Pixel Watch Phone Unlock
- Pixel Tablet Clear Calling, spatial audio
- Recorder app new languages
- Direct my call and hold for me
- Clock and Weather upgraded
New Year New Pixel Color
Google has been teasing about a new colorway for the Pixel 8 Series for a while now. The new shade has finally been announced and it is ‘Mint’. It is being described as inspired by the vibrant hue found in nature and is more subdued than the bay blue version of Pixel 8 Pro.
The Mint colorway has joined the already existing Obsidian, Hazel, and Rose shades for Pixel 8 and Obsidian, Bay, and Porcelain shades for Pixel 8 Pro.
However, there is a slight downside to this color model. If one wants it, one would have to limit it to a 128GB storage version. This is because the mint shade is currently retailing only for 128GB models.
For India, Google has started marketing Mint Color as well. In fact, the Google India store shows mint shade for the Pixel 8 currently. It is expected to arrive for Pixel 8 Pro soon. Since, Google currently sells its Pixels via Flipkart the currently, Pixel 8 Series in Mint color is expected to be available soon, with the base variant retailing at Rs. 75,999.