The Google Pixel series is defined by its software features that go beyond stock Android

With the Google Pixel 7 series approaching and with it the anniversary of the Pixel series, we have been thinking about the history of Pixel smartphones and some of the changes that have occurred thanks to them. The Google Pixel series has been a driving force behind ambient computing in smartphones, with amazing features like live transcription, near-real-time audio transcription, instant playback, and more. While many consider the Pixel series as a software reference, it is important to note that the software you get on your Pixel smartphone has increasingly deviated from Android, and for the better. These are just some of our favorite features of the Google Pixel series.

play now

Google Pixel 6 Pro is now up and running

As someone who is fond of music, Now Playing is one of my favorite features on any smartphone – ever. The way it works is very simple, which is why I love it. Put your phone in your pocket, and it will identify all the music playing around you throughout the day.

This seriously.

For a long time now gaming has been one of the biggest reasons why I keep using the Pixel. I stayed on the Pixel 5 despite having more powerful smartphones Just For Now Playing, it’s much more convenient than constantly needing to Shazam the music around me. Now Playing uses your microphone to listen to music around you in an effort to identify whatever you’re picking up. It runs entirely on the device, so absolutely nothing is sent to Google’s servers. This is also why it doesn’t specify for every song – it works by downloading a regional database of songs that are then compared on the device to what’s playing around you. When it finds a match, it shows it on the lock screen, always works, and saves it to the Now Playing section of the audio settings.

Nowadays, you can now play on any smartphone thanks to an unofficial port, but the official feature on Google Pixel phones still works better than any of them.

live translation

Google Pixel Live Translate

While it’s not technically a Pixel-exclusive feature, Live Transcribe is a feature that comes pre-installed on Google and Samsung smartphones. It is an accessibility application that helps people with hearing disabilities. The app uses Google’s speech recognition and voice detection technology to provide instant transcription of conversations. However, the Pixel exclusive feature Do have is Live Translate. It’s “direct typing”, but with the built-in ability to translate everything that is said in other languages. It is very popular to use it to watch cartoons and other contents in a foreign language. You just need to select languages.

voice typing

Voice typing is something Google described as significantly improved and faster than typing in its announcement, and so far, that certainly appears to be the case. I was very surprised by its ability to recognize voice, and in some cases, I can certainly see that it is faster and more convenient than typing. However, I notice that in noisy environments (outside, for example), it does seem to struggle a bit.

It’s simple, it works, and it’s a great way to talk to quickly message people with all the convenience of a voice message, without the hassles someone might need Listen for your voice message.

magic eraser

Magic Eraser is almost the same as the context-aware therapy in Adobe Photoshop, but it works very well sometimes. This is one of the hallmarks of the Google Pixel 6 Pro, and it’s been nice to play with. I have a really good example of this that I showed in my review of the Google Pixel 6 Pro last year.

Although the Magic Eraser wasn’t perfect, he was able to recognize the rocks behind my friend, and fill them in behind him appropriately. It’s obviously not perfect and you can spot some artifacts, but at a glance, it works really well. This level of removal works well for social media, especially to remove image spoilers and the like, where people obviously won’t be pixel peeps.

Google Assistant

While it’s no longer exclusive to the Pixel, Google Assistant started out as an exclusive that was just baked into the Pixel. We’ve seen it arrive in the form of Assistant compression on the Pixel 2 series, although “Hey Google” is the way you’ll now be looking to access it. It’s still an important part of Pixel smartphones and adds to the all-around computing that Google strives for. Your phone is a helper, and being able to talk to it quickly to add reminders and other pieces of information throughout your day really helps.

Google is all about artificial intelligence

Since a big part of Google Tensor is its AI capabilities, it’s no surprise how much Google relies on these kinds of features. There are other features that Google has introduced to its smartphones over the years, including the HDR+ algorithm that undoubtedly influenced the smartphone platform, Snapchat integration, audio transcription, and much more.

What are your favorite Pixel features? Let us know in the comments!

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