The latest Google Pixel Feature Drop is rolling out, and it brings a few new features to recent Google Pixel smartphones. One lets you save pictures to a password-protected Google Photos “Locked Folder.” Another lets you answer or reject a phone call using Google Assistant without touching your phone. And a third lets you use your phone to shoot videos of the night sky with Night Sight/astrophotography mode.
You’ll need a Pixel 4 or later for that last feature. but if you’ve got one, you can point your phone at the sky (preferably while on a tripod), switch to Night Sight mode, after a few seconds the phone should detect what you’re trying to do and enable Astrophotography.
What’s new with the latest Pixel Drop is support for making time-lapse astrophotography videos. Your phone will automatically make these videos out of various frames of your long-exposure pictures. But you can go into the Google Camera app’s settings to disable video if you’d rather save storage space.
You’ll need a Pixel 4 or later to use the Astro-videography feature.
The new Locked Folder function in Google Photos lets you create a password-protected folder, and you can even opt to have new photos from your camera roll automatically saved to that folder. Not only will you need to enter a password or use your fingerprint to open the folder, but any images in that folder won’t automatically show up in Google Photos Memories or other functions and the won’t be shown to any other users even if you have shared albums.
To use the new Google Assistant features for hands-free responses to phone calls, you can just say “Hey Google, answer call” or “Hey Google, reject call.”
And other new features include:
- Gboard will automatically detect when you’ve copied text that includes a phone number, URL, or email address and show it as a suggestion in the clipboard.
- Car crash detection is now available in Ireland, Singapore, and Spain.
- Call Screen is now available in Japan.
- Recorder can now transcribe text in more English dialects.
- There are three new Pride-themed wallpapers and ringtones.