Over the past couple of years, Google has doubled down on the Pixel line’s promise of being software first — and becoming more useful over time. The company has done a few Pixel ‘drops‘ that essentially add new features exclusive to the Pixel line, and today the company is adding a few more — including a special underwater photo mode.
One of my favorite features introduced with the Pixel 4 is Google’s Recorder app. It’s utterly barebones, save for one important feature: it automatically transcribes speech into text — usually quite effectively, too — making it incredibly useful for recordings of lectures, interviews, and other conversations you might want to write up. The problem was sharing these recordings with others became a bit of a pain, and even tranferring that text onto your own desktop was a multi-step process.
That’s getting easier today, as Google launched an online hub for the app at recorder.google.com. Here you can listen to recordings — Google has also finally added the ability to automatically back up your recordings to the cloud — see transcripts, and search through your files.
That should make it a lot easier to just copy and paste the text into your writing app of choice. It also makes it easy for others to have a place to listen to your recordings and view the accompanying text, once you create a shareable link.
In a more niche update, Google is making the Pixel camera app more useful for shooting photos underwater — assuming you have the right underwater case. The feature initially only supports cases from Kraken Sports, but it makes it easy to access Night Sight, Portrait Mode, and Motion Photos using physical buttons on the case, as well as features such as manual focus and zooming. You’ll also be able to see information such as the water’s temperature and your underwater depth right on your phone’s screen.
This ensures you’re able to get the best photos and video the Pixel has to offer rather than use a specialized app with lackluster imaging. I assume the intersection of people using Pixel phones for underwater photography and videography is quite small, but it’s still pretty neat.
There are a few more updates, including bringing Google’s Smart Compose — a feature that suggests entire sentences and fragments — to ‘select messaging apps.’ Google doesn’t specify which, but shows Google Chat as an example. The company is also introducing some new wallpapers for International Women’s day, as well as a new bedtime display mode for Pixel owners using the wireless charging Pixel Stand.
As a bonus sixth feature — which was announced a few weeks ago — the company notes the ability to track your heart rate and respiratory rate with your phone’s camera in Google Fit is rolling out to Pixel owners next week.
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