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Google packs a ton of features into new Pixel feature drop

Today, Google announced its latest feature drop that's coming to its Pixel family of smartphones. And frankly, there's quite a bit that the company had to share with this one.

First of all, there are new Motion Sense features. Motion Sense is the feature in the Pixel 4 that uses the Soli radar to detect its surroundings. Previously, you could only use it to skip forward or backward when playing music, but now you can use a tapping gesture to play or pause music.

The sensors can also detect when you're in an auto collision, and in the U.S., you can use a tap to call 911. Now, that also works in Australia and the UK to dial 000 or 999, respectively.

Google also noted that Live Caption, a feature available on the Pixel 3 and later, is now available for the Pixel 2 series.

If you're in the market for new emojis, there's some good news. This feature drop includes Emoji 12.1, which has 169 new emoji characters for more gender variants and skin tones.

One thing that's particularly interesting is that Google is adding some AR features to the front camera. When making Duo video calls, you can use AR effects, similar to what you can do with an iPhone and FaceTime. What makes that interesting is that it means that Google is making more use of the sensors that are there, and the Mountain View firm said that you'll now be able to get depth effects from selfies that use portrait mode. One benefit of this is 3D photos on Facebook.

Next up are new features for Google Pay. While using the service, you'll be able to hold down the power button and swipe through all of your credit cards. This is available in the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Taiwan, and Singapore.

Moreover, Google is making boarding passes for flights easier. If you take a screenshot of your ticket, you'll be automatically prompted to add it to Google Pay. This is rolling out in all countries that have Google Pay for the Pixel 3, 3a, and 4.

Finally, there are some new customization options. You can now set the dark theme to be activated at sunset and deactivated at sunrise. There are also new Do Not Disturb settings. You can set your Pixel so that it can turn on when you connect to a certain Wi-Fi network; that way, for example, you'll never forget to put your phone on Do Not Disturb at work.

All of these features are rolling out beginning today.

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