There are some big new Android features coming to a swathe of devices from today that not only make things safer but also improve phone calls and even let users open and start their cars with just their phones. Google has just announced the launch of this blockbuster release that will be available to anyone who owns one of the latest Pixel smartphones.
If you have one of these call makers in your pocket then there are plenty of shiny new things to try out including the launch of an in-built VPN. This new Virtual Private Network basically hides your online identity and is ideal when logging into the web or your emails via public Wi-Fi. Most VPNs require a subscription but Google has promised that its version will be totally free to use.
The US tech giant also says this update will make sure your online activity is always protected at a network level no matter what app or web browser you’re using. Along with offering that free VPN, the latest Android upgrade also lets you easily review your security and privacy settings, risk levels, and other information all in one place.
This should help to better protect accounts and passwords that are stored on devices.
But it’s not just about security. Google is boasting that its users will hear improved phone calls thanks to a feature called Clear calling. This uses clever technology – via Google’s Tensor processor – to enhance the voice of your contact and cut down on background noise no matter what type of device they are using. That should mean you’ll be able to hear people more clearly if they’re in a busy cafe or walking down a busy street.
Another bonus coming to the Pixel is something called a Digital car key. As the name suggests, this feature lets you lock, unlock and start a compatible car using just your phone.
You can even share a key with friends and family should they need to access your vehicle and you aren’t nearby.
The next big change will be welcomed by anyone who loves Google’s dictation feature with things getting even better.
Once downloaded, the update now identifies and labels each person who is talking and inserts line breaks when the speaker changes. This means you can record an interview, meeting, lecture, or conversation with each person labelled individually. This feature uses machine learning to process speaker labelling live and on-device, so you can watch it work as you record. And once the recording is complete, you can easily re-label speakers with their names.
Finally, there are some new wallpapers launching including some that feature images that shift and sway when your phone moves.
All of the features in this long list will be available on the Pixel 7 although there are also upgrades coming to devices including the Pixel 4, 5 and 6.
There’s no word on when all phones will get the changes but it’s worth checking your settings to see if your device has been offered the download.