Google releases March 2021 feature drop for Pixel devices w/ upgraded Recorder, underwater photos, Google Fit improvements
Google has begun rolling out the March 2021 feature drop and security patch to Pixel devices. The update marks the latest of several feature drops the Pixel series has seen recently, adding new features to the phone without a generational software upgrade.
This time around, Google’s going the “minor improvement” route, starting with the Recorder app. With the March feature drop, Pixel owners will be able to share recordings they make as links through recorder.google.com. The full recording, transcripts, and more are all available through the new web portal. Google also makes it easier to back up recordings to your Google account for safe keeping.
The next feature’s a little different: underwater photos. Using the Kraken Sports’ Universal Smart Phone Housing, you can use your Pixel phone to take photos underwater. All of the camera features you’re used to like Night Sight, portrait mode, Motion Photos, and more will be available. You’ll even get some extra stats at the top of the screen.
I’ve never really wanted to take photos under water, but it definitely seems cool to do with just a smartphone.
Google is also adding its Smart Compose feature (famously from Gmail) to select messaging apps on the Pixel. The example the company shows in the image below is Google Chat, the app that will eventually replace Hangouts. Smart compose will offer up suggestions powered by machine learning to help you quicken up your typing habits. It’s available in the US and in English only, at the moment.
The Pixel Stand is also being updated with the March feature drop. Now, when you set your Pixel phone down on the wireless charger, you’ll be able to enter a new, updated bedtime screen with redesigned notifications and a simpler UI. It’s, of course, only available on Pixels that support wireless charging which includes the Pixel 3, 3 XL, 4, 4 XL, and 5.
In the blog post, Google says it’ll be adding new wallpapers throughout the year based on cultural moments. The first set, illustrated by Spanish duo Cachetejack, will be released in honor of International Women’s Day.
Finally, Google says the Google Fit upgrade with heart and respiratory rate tracking on the Pixel will be rolling out with today’s update.