Google's Latest Pixel Feature Drop Adds Better Night Sight to Pixel 6

The company is also pushing out more features to older Pixel devices.

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A photo of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro
The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are getting improved Night Sight capabilities.
Photo: Sam Rutherford / Gizmodo

Google is pushing out another Pixel Feature Drop starting today. The latest update improves the camera capabilities on the Pixel 6/6 Pro devices, which are nearing their second year of life. It also brings some other latest-gen capabilities to older-gen Pixel smartphones.

Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro users are getting faster Night Sight as soon as the update rolls out. Google says the feature will “give even faster low-light photos” and cites the “improved algorithms” of the Tensor chip. It remains to be seen whether the nighttime photos are any better than the ones produced by the Pixel 7/7 Pro. I’ll test it once the software update hits my devices. At the very least, it’s a look at how Google might entice users of aging Pixel devices to stick around rather than jump ship to iOS.

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Health Connect on Pixel

Going forward, Pixel devices will also be bundled with the Health Connect API. Health Connect allows you to share health and fitness data more efficiently between apps that support it. Current apps that support syncing include MyFitnessPal, Samsung Health, and Peloton. Previously, Health Connect was only on Android 13 and you had to download it separately from the Play Store. It’ll also be on all other brands of phones by default once Android 14 goes out later this year.

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Pixel 4a is Getting Some Modern AI Features

The Pixel 4a is also getting some latest-gen Pixel capabilities. Pixel 4a and newer devices will all have access to the Magic Eraser capability within the Photos app. The feature is already available to anyone with a Google One subscription on both iOS and Android. For Pixel 4a and older phones, Google has also made Direct My Call+ available so you can peep the call menu options on an automated system before losing your cool. It’s a nice ability for when you can’t afford to sit on hold.

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The point of the Google Pixel smartphone is to provide a blueprint for Android phones across the ecosystem and for Google to use it as a vessel for its machine-learning magic. It’s part of the reason it’s making its own chips for its smartphones in the first place. Although the older Pixel devices run on Qualcomm chips rather than Google’s TPU, it’s interesting to note how the company is making more of its AI-infused capabilities compatible with older hardware.