I will be honest. Today could be the worst day for a non-Apple company to drop a series of mobile operating system updates. But I guess a Google Pixel feature drop isn’t waiting for anyone, including Tim Cook and Company — even if it means dropping a blog post at the exact moment the WWDC 2022 keynote begins.
For owners of the Pixel 4 to 6/6 Pro, however, rejoice, because you have things to celebrate today too. There’s a wide range of features on board here, including the ability to add a shortcut to a vaccine card screenshot directly to the homepage. Given that the number of COVID cases is steadily increasing in a number of areas, this is a neat little feature to help you avoid the panicked search for the shot when you’re on the front lines. It’s available in Canada, the United States and Australia.
Talk mode previously tested in beta is coming to Google’s Sound Amplifier, designed to help filter out ambient sounds for people with hearing loss. The user holds the phone, pointing the camera at the subject, and the phone will use built-in machine learning to amplify their voice and filter out the background.
Google has also partnered with design firm Teenage Engineering for a new app called Pocket Operator, which offers quick and easy on-the-fly music and video editing, adding sounds, effects and beats. It is available for download on the Play Store for Pixel 5 and later.
Other new features include a reminder that pings you when you accidentally leave your flashlight on (you know who you are), and a Nest doorbell video stream right on the lock screen. Google also introduced a new collection of wallpapers for Pride Month.
A new air quality alert feature is in the works, currently listed as “coming soon” for the US, India and Australia.