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Pixel line-up gets built-in VPN, unified security controls and more

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The December Pixel Feature Drop is here, bringing new features and updates to all active Pixel devices in Google’s lineup, starting from the Pixel 4a and going to the Pixel 7 Pro. The Pixel Watch also gets an update with new tiles for popular apps. 

One of the most important features in this update is the inclusion of a built-in VPN for the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro at no additional cost.

The VPN comes from Google One and protects online activity at a network level, meaning all data leaving your device is encrypted regardless of the network. 

The Tensor G2 chip on the Pixel 7 lineup will now also be used to clean up voices you hear on the phone in a feature called Clear Calling. The phones will now enhance the other caller’s voice while reducing background noise, ensuring clear calls. 

Next up, the unified security and privacy setting dashboard allow users to review security and privacy settings, risk levels, passwords and other relevant information in one place. This also includes action cards to notify users of any security risks and give easy steps to enhance their privacy and security measures. 

Pixel line-up gets built-in VPN, unified security controls and more
The new security and privacy dashboard (left), clear calling (middle), and speaker labels in the recorder (right). | Source: Google

Pixel’s new recorder was one of the more exciting features on launch day; speaker labels had a huge part to play. Speaker labels are finally on all devices, starting with the Pixel 6. The recorder can now identify and label each speaker and insert line breaks when the speaker changes. The labelling is done in real-time and on the device but only works for English conversations. 

You get three new Curated Culture wallpaper to celebrate the International Day of People with Disabilities, illustrated by artist, poet, podcaster, and author Morgan Harper Nichols.

Last but not least, some existing features are expanding to more regions, languages and devices:

  • Digital car keys can now be shared with friends and family, including iPhone users. 
  • Grammer check on Gboard is now available in French.
  • Live Translate can translate texts in messaging apps in five new languages, including Arabic, Danish, Persian, Swedish and Vietnamese.
  • Pixel 4a and newer get a more powerful search tool.
  • Voice Message Transcription now supports Pixel 4a and newer. 

In the News: Stack Overflow temporarily bans ChatGPT

More tiles and better sleep tracking on the Pixel Watch

As for the Pixel Watch, Fitbit Sleep Profile is finally available. The feature can track up to 10 different sleep aspects, including duration, bedtime consistency and disruption, to depict your sleeping patterns with one of six sleep animals. Users are required to wear their Pixel Watches at least 14 nights a month for the feature to work.

Pixel line-up gets built-in VPN, unified security controls and more
The new tiles for the weather (left) and contacts (right) on the Pixel Watch. | Source: Google

The Pixel Watch is getting a suite of new tiles for popular apps, including Weather and Contacts. There’s a sunrise/sunset tile, and the contact app allows up to five pinned contacts from your favourites. 

In the News: Stack Overflow temporarily bans ChatGPT

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: