While Android 11 is no longer the newest version of Google’s OS, it will remain the stable release for the first part of this year. To help remedy that, the March Pixel Feature Drop is now here along with the latest security patch and several bug fixes.
Recorder cloud backup and web app
The Pixel’s powerful Recorder app can now automatically backup to Google Drive, which impacts One storage. Users previously had to manually upload via the share sheet, while past recordings would not be carried over to new/other phones.
Cloud storage also means multi-device access through a new recorder.google.com app that can play, search, and share audio. The Google Recorder app still only works in English. For more, read our full hands-on.
Measure heart & respiratory rate in Google Fit
Google Fit can use your Pixel’s front-facing camera and computer vision to measure respiratory rate by detecting small changes on your chest as you breathe. Meanwhile, measuring heart rate involves placing your finger on the rear lens. This feature starts rolling out next week, though it’s not officially part of the March Pixel Feature Drop. Read more
Pixel phones now work with the Kraken Sports Universal Smart Phone Housing (KRH04 or KRH03) to capture marine life and seascapes. The UI is near identical save for a bar at the top with specific accessory stats.
Get access to your Pixel’s camera features, including Night Sight, Portrait Mode, Motion Photos and video directly through Pixel’s Camera app for high-quality images of you and your underwater friends. See g.co/pixel/diveconnector for more information.
Google touts this as giving users the ability to “capture the same kinds of high quality images they’re accustomed to above water, and do it underwater without the cumbersome cameras and cases scuba drivers have traditionally used.” Read more
Gboard Smart Compose
After launching in Gmail (as a Pixel 3 exclusive) and Docs, Smart Compose is now officially coming to Gboard for select messaging apps. The ML feature will offer to complete sentences as you write, suggesting common phrases (in gray) to cut down on repetitive typing and potential typos. You swipe on the spacebar to accept suggestions.
Smart Compose currently only works in the US and when set to English.
The Pixel Stand gets a new bedtime screen and redesigned prompts to help you “ease into sleep.” Read more
This feature is available on Pixel phones with wireless charging capability: Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL and Pixel 5.
New IWD Wallpaper
The “Curated Culture” section, introduced last month for Black History Month, in Google Wallpapers has three new backgrounds ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8. Focusing on the strength and transformation of women, they’re illustrated by Spanish duo Cachetejack.
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